After a rookie season in which he fulfilled most of his promise, Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish should be even better in 2013. His 2012 performance is only the tip of the iceberg and Darvish could be a 20 game winner this season.
Darvish came to Texas as a highly touted ace after seven years pitching in the Japanese Leagues. He began his career as teenage phenom with the Hikkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. In Japan, Darvish quickly rose to superstardom and decided to make the move to MLB.
With his reputation preceding him, Darvish had a lot to prove last season. He did just that by winning 16 games against 9 losses while posting a 3.90 ERA. His .640 winning percentage was the best of any Rangers pitcher. The pitching of Darvish helped Texas win 93 games and advance to the post season for the third consecutive year. The Rangers were defeated by the Baltimore Orioles in a one game wildcard playoff. Darvish did all of this while carrying a countries pride on his shoulders.
With a year of MLB behind him, the 25 year old Darvish should be even better in 2013. The scrutiny that he was under last season should lessen and Darvish should be able to completely focus on his craft. He has already shown signs of being more relaxed in spring training. In 8 2/3 innings Darvish’s ERA is 1.04. The man who it is said has seven pitches seems to be in command of them all. If this is the case, AL batters had better get ready to struggle.
One of the reasons why Darvish is so highly touted is that he has almost every pitch one could have and can control each one. Those who follow Texas, say that Darvish has two good fastballs along with a curveball, slider, changeup, splitter and cutter. Most top line pitchers can only throw two or three of these. Many get by with just a fastball, curve and changeup. If Darvish can throw all seven of his pitches consistently, he will be tough to beat.
Darvish will need to control them all, because his ballpark does him no favors. One of the reasons for his 3.90 ERA is the fact that he had to adjust to Rangers Ballpark. It is built for hitters and in the swing from the heels AL every team that plays there will take their chances at hitting the long ball. Darvish found this out last season and will know how to pitch to opponents in his home park from now on.
One never wants to put pressure on a young man, but Darvish proved last season he has the talent to be a dominant pitcher in MLB. With experience he will only get better.
Darvish will be a better pitcher in 2013 and it should not surprise anyone if he wins 20 games.