Apr 24, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) sits in the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

More Than Just a Man: The Ascendancy of Yu Darvish

Throughout his rookie season and primarily towards the final months of the 2012 season, Yu Darvish was undeniably dominant. How dominant, you may ask? Well for starters, Darvish finished second amongst all starters in baseball with 10.4 K/9. Additionally, Darvish’s 5.1 fWAR tied him for 5th in all of baseball amongst starting pitchers with 2012 Cy Young winner, David Price and former Cy Young winner, Zack Greinke. Darvish’s only struggles seemed to be with issuing too many free passes—4.19 BB/9. But something clicked with Darvish in the final months of the 2012 season and it has apparently carried over into 2013. This version of Yu Darvish is no fluke.

Take Darvish’s numbers through 5 starts in 2013:

32.2 IP, 13.50 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 59.0% GB, 1.20 FIP and a 1.96 xFIP

Obviously the walks are down and Darvish is also being rather selfish in the home run and ground ball departments. But do yourself a favor and just take a look and admire the PITCHf/x data from Darvish’s most recent start against the Angels, courtesy of FanGraphs (link).

Also, I’m sure you’ve already seen this amazing GIF, courtesy of LSB regular DShep:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As evidenced by PITCHf/x data and this amazing GIF, Yu Darvish has a nearly identical release point for all of his pitches. Unsurprisingly, Darvish again displayed a huge gaps in velocity, going from a 61 mph ephus curveball to a 97 mph tailing fastball in one AB, not to mention a widely concluded 80-grade slider in his back pocket.

Yu Darvish isn’t bothered by ballpark affects—his stuff negates such things. Yu Darvish isn’t bothered by in-game situations—he’s the same pitcher with no baserunners on as he is with the bases loaded. Yu Darvish isn’t the pitcher that reminded a scout of Daisuke Matsuzaka after his first two MLB starts—Darvish is a true ace.

Darvish aces the analysis of scouts, he aces the scrutiny of advanced metrics.

Darvish is already everything and more than what the Rangers expected.

$51,703,411

That’s a beautiful number, isn’t it? Perhaps a more beautiful one exists in the number 1—the number of firsts.

Darvish stands a strong chance to be the Rangers’ first ever Cy Young award winner but more importantly, Darvish stands a chance to be the ace on the Rangers’ first ever World Series Champion team. After all, isn’t everything a matter of chance?

A man can dream, can’t he? But boy, Darvish makes dreaming rather easy.

 

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Tags: Albert Pujols Daisuke Matsuzaka David Price Josh Hamilton Mike Trout Rangers Texas Texas Rangers Yu Darvish Zack Greinke

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