Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yu Darvish - What You Need to Know

The Defending American League Champion Texas Rangers made headlines yesterday by earning the exclusive rights to bid on Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher Yu Darvish for a cool $51.7M. The Rangers now have 30 days to negotiate a deal for Darvish. Here's what you need to know about the guy.
Photo Credit: zimbio.com

*The 25 year old 6'5" righty is considered to be the best pitcher in Japan right now.

*The $51.7M fee tops the $51.1M that Boston bid for the rights to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka prior to the 2007 season.

*Darvish is coming off a season in Japan in which he was 18-6 with an ERA of 1.44 and 276 strikeouts. He walked just 36 batters in 232 innings.

*Darvish pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and while he blew the save in the Championship Game against Korea, he did get the win in extra innings and struck out 5 in his 2 innings of work. Darvish appeared in 5 games in the Classic including 2 starts and he was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts in just 13 innings.

*In his last 5 seasons in Japan, Darvish is 76-28 and has not posted an ERA over 1.88. He has eclipsed 200 innings 4 times and has 50 complete games in just 126 starts (39.7%) during that span.

In case you're wondering here's how his Japanese stats compare to Daisuke Matsuzaka's. Matsuzaka was 26 when he first pitched for the Red Sox.

As you can see Darvish has vastly superior numbers in virtually every category. And while people may only remember Daisuke as the pitcher who couldn't stay healthy in recent years for Boston, don't forget that he won 33 games his first two years in the league including an 18-3 2.90 ERA season in 2008. Additionally he eclipsed 200 strikeouts as a rookie in 2007. So while there are concerns about Darvish's workload over the past few years, the kid is absolutely worth the risk. We'll see if the Rangers are able to sign him.

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