Yu Darvish: What Needs To Be Done For An Encore In 2013
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Tuesday January 29th, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
Yu Darvish was up there with the most hyped players ever to sign out of Japan. There was a bidding war just to get the rights to negotiate with him, and the half-Japanese half-Iranian pitcher ended up signing with the Texas Rangers for over $50 Mllion and another 53.7 Million in a posting fee.. Darvish had what many would call a successful season with the Rangers in 2012, going 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 191.1 Innings Pitched. He was just what the Rangers needed in a front-of-the-rotation type pitcher who could eat up innings. Darvish signed a 6-year contract before 2012, so the Rangers will still get a minimum of five more years from him. In this feature, I will discuss what Yu Darvish needs to do in order to continue to be the successful starter the Rangers signed.
All in all, Yu Darvish had a great 2012 season. All of his numbers were right where they needed to be, and the pitcher did not have any major issues. Darvish struck out 221 and carried a 1.28 WHIP. The only statistic that was a bit eye-catching was the number of walks. Darvish walked 89 batters over the course of the season, and held a 2.48 K/BB ratio. Darvish’s control was the one part of his skillset that was rather questionable. There were games last season in which Darvish walked four, five, even six in a game. In fact, Darvish walked six in a game three times, and five in a game twice. He had no games in which he did not walk anyone. In his last seven starts, however, Darvish did not walk more than two in a game—which could possibly mean that Darvish worked out whatever was causing him to lose control.
Yu Darvish 2012 Highlights:
If Darvish can replicate his last seven games control-wise, he should be in for a good 2013. The only issue Darvish could encounter is the possibility of teams figuring him out. In 2012, Darvish was new to the league, and only a handful of players had seen him in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Due to this, Darvish might have caught the majority of the league by surprise. This happens occasionally with new pitchers to a league, and there usually is some sort of adjustment period. After seeing him a few times, hitters could begin to catch on this year, lowering Darvish’s Strikeout total and raising his ERA.
If the Rangers pitcher cannot limit walks, we could see a sharp increase in his ERA. This year, Darvish might not be so lucky to get out of a bases loaded jam, and might give up the two-out bases-clearing double. Without Josh Hamilton this year, the Rangers cannot afford falling behind by a large amount, so it is imperative that Darvish does not allow extra base runners. Darvish will be 26 this year, so he still has some room for development. Like I said earlier, if Darvish can continue the trend of his last seven games in 2012, he will be in good shape. The Rangers will also benefit exponentially if Darvish can throw a few more Innings in 2013—maybe get to 200+.
With Josh Hamilton now on the Angels, the Rangers will need to have increased production from guys like Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz. But these two power hitters cannot bring the Rangers to the promised-land alone. The American League West has turned into a very tough division with Josh Hamilton going to the Angels – and the Oakland Athletics shocking the world by winning the division last year. If the Rangers are going to return to the playoffs, they will need Darvish to be an ace. I think this is very possible due to the glimmers of stardom we saw from the man in 2012.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer Bernie Olshansky. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Bernie has experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series (in 2010 and 2012) being the most memorable highlights. Some of his favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. He played baseball up through his freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. He regularly attends major and minor league games when he has free time. He is finishing up his senior year of high school, and anxiously waits to hear back from colleges. He hopes to major in Journalism or Sports Administration. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter. Follow @BernieOlshansky
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Posted on January 29, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @bernieolshansky, adrian beltre, American league, american league west, baseball, bernie olshansky, japan, josh hamilton, los angeles angels of anaheim, mlb, nelson cruz, oakland athletics, pitching, texas rangers, world baseball classic, yu darvish. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.