Yu Darvish Is A God Amongst Men


Yu Darvish, your master

Here is what I wrote about Yu Darvish on January 23rd:

Dan Symborski, who every year runs his ZIPS projection system, has Darvish at 193.0 IP, with 226 K’s, 86 BB’s, an ERA of 3.4, and 5.7 WAR. I’m not saying this is who Darvish will be in 2013, but if [Symborski's computer] is accurate, we’re looking at a top-of-the-rotation Cy Young candidate.

If you’re asking me, which I don’t know why you would, I see him surpassing these projections. When the Rangers dished out north of $100 million to ascertain Darvish’s services before last year, they weren’t only paying for a TORP, or an ace, they were paying for the best pitcher in the Major Leagues. His first few months last year, where it seemed like he was walking 4 or 5 hitters a game, were painful to watch. It was enough to give the casual Rangers fan pause, and to question if the organization had made a grave mistake in the longterm.

I’m expecting a dominant sophomore season from the Japanese import, perhaps putting him in the same class as Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and Clayton Kershaw.

* * *

I won’t pat myself on the back, even though I want to, because I wasn’t the only one to expect this type of success from Yu Darvish. Last year Keith Law predicted him to be the Rookie of the Year and Cy Yound Award winner. Today Jason Parks tweeted the image below:

So yeah, good things, basically.

Today the Rangers defeated the Red Sox 4-3 in dramatic walk-off fashion, with Yu Darvish stealing the show in what was ultimately a no-decision. Darvish went 7.0 innings (throwing a career-high 127 pitches), allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, walking 2 and striking out a ridiculous 14 Boston hitters.

The 14 punch outs ties a career high for Yu, which he posted in his first start this year, against Houston. He’s now eliminated 72 batters via the strikeout in 45.2 IP, which is the best mark in the Majors by 25 15 (A.J. Burnett, 57).

Darvish’s 2013 xFIP of 1.96 is also the best in the bigs; 2nd is Max Scherzer at 2.18. Yu’s 2.56 ERA suggests he should be performing about a half-run better than his results indicate, which feels weird to say since it’s such a fantastic number as it already stands.

On the afternoon, Darvish induced 19 swings-and-misses, which was good for a Swing Strike% of 15.0%, which somehow is a full 2.0% below what his season average has been to this point (17.0%). To put his “stuff” into perspective, in 7 starts in 2013 Yu Darvish has forced 123 swinging strikes. I’m too lazy to look up if any other pitchers in baseball are even remotely close to that, but Max Scherzer is 2nd in baseball to Darvish with a strikeout rate of 12.36%, and he has only forced 86 swings-and-misses — 37 less than Yu.

* * *

With two outs in the 9th inning and Elvis Andrus on 2nd base, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to intentionally walk Lance Berkman – who in his last 10 games has hit at a pretty empty .222/.444/.333 clip — in favor of pitching to Adrian Beltre, who despite his slow start had racked up 6 hits in his last 13 at bats heading into the decisive moment of the game.

It seems like I say Adrian Beltre‘s name all the time when important shit goes down.

On a two strike pitch, with two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, Beltre looped a base hit into right field to send Boston out of town with three more losses than they came in with. The Rangers, on the other hand, improve to 20-11 with the sweep, tying them with the Red Sox for the best record in the Major Leagues.

Texas now goes on a weird little road trip where tomorrow they’ll face Scott Feldman in a makeup game in Chicago, then head to Milwaukee for 2 before meeting the Astros in Houston next weekend.

Anyway, can’t ask for anything more than being in first place, and god damn it’s fun to watch Yu Darvish throw a baseball.

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Tags: Boston Elvis Andrus Lance Berkman Red Sox Yu Darvish

  • Justin

    72-57 is 15.

    • Eric Reining

      You are right. Thanks.