Fantasy Baseball 2013: Yu Darvish Almost Perfect

By Adam Pfeifer
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports


Yu gotta be kidding me…

It took just one crack of the bat to let down every Texas Rangers fan in the world on Tuesday night.

But not starting pitcher Yu Darvish.

After tossing a perfect game through 26 batters, Astros’ shortstop Marwin Gonzalez smacked a ground ball up the middle to end Darvish’s historic performance with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. While all of Texas cursed in anger, the 26-year old Darvish simply smiled and eventually received a standing ovation as he was relieved. He didn’t pitch a perfect game. He didn’t pitch a no-hitter. But Darvish still proved that he can, and will be a legitimate ace in the majors. I mean, we knew that this kid was going to be good. During his first season in America last season, Darvish struck out 221 batters. Just one game into the 2013 season, he already has 14. Darvish sure is making my pick for him to lead the league in strikeouts look accurate, but he didn’t just do it with his fastball. Instead, he incorporated some improved breaking stuff, especially an absolute filthy slider that retired a handful of batters. Darvish took his decreased walk rate from the second half of 2012 into 2013 by walking zero batters and showcasing great control.

So, after an absolutely dominating performance, does this make Darvish a fantasy ace?

I sure think so. Of course, I have been high on him all off-season, but that’s besides the point. To demonstrate just how much I love Darvish in fantasy land, here are the only pitchers I’d take ahead of him:

Justin VerlanderClayton KershawStephen StrasburgDavid PriceMatt Cain.

That’s it.

The fact that he already has one year in the U.S. under his belt makes me much more comfortable in ranking him sixth among all fantasy pitchers. It appears he has adjusted well since struggling a bit in the first half of the 2012 campaign. Monster starts like the one he produced on Tuesday night can only build his confidence going forward. Sure, it was against an Astros ball club that is scoffed at around the league, but they do have some capable, smart hitters that simply could not touch Darvish.

Already off to a tremendous start, this very well may be the year Darvish establishes himself as an ace. 250 strikeouts? Al Cy Young winner? It’s still early, but don’t be surprised if Darvish finishes the 2013 season with at least those two titles. Whenever he is on the hill, he is a must start for fantasy rosters.

Woo woo woo! Yu know it!

Sorry, puns are fun.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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