Yu Darvish is Evolving Into The Best Strikeout Pitcher In Baseball.
The Texas Rangers spent a lot of money just to get Yu Darvish over to the United States. After a solid rookie season, the former Japan League star is on a blistering pace to begin the season. While his numbers overall are great, what stands out the most is his ability to strikeout major league hitters.
Like many Japanese pitchers in recent memory, Darvish came over with a lot of hype, and a lot of pitches. He struck out 221 batters in 2012, and his 16-9 record with a 3.90 ERA would normally put him in the Rookie of the Year race. Thanks to Mike Trout, Darvish slid under the radar a bit. Now, he is sneaking up on no one, off to a record strikeout pace through July Fourth Weekend.
Darvish leads baseball in strikeouts per nine innings (11.8) and strikeouts (157), if you drafted him to your fanduel.com fantasy baseball team you will be very happy with him just now. If he stays healthy and continues to pitch late into games, he is on pace to eclipse the 300 strikeout mark. No one has truly flirted with that number since Randy Johnson decided to call it quits. Darvish does not really have that power fastball that the Big Unit had, but his repertoire keeps batters on their toes.
With Dice-K to Kei Igawa flaming out once arriving in the United States, teams were hesitant at first when it came to Darvish. What Darvish has done differently to this point is he has made adjustments to hitters the second time around. While other Japanese pitchers have starred in year one only to fizzle out, Darvish is working hard and strengthening his weaknesses and becoming a better overall pitcher.
Guys like Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and AJ Burnett might throw harder and be more pure power pitchers, but Darvish’s ability to keep hitters off balance and still blow fastballs by hitters has him poised to be possibly the greatest strikeout guy since Randy Johnson.