Prior to his most recent start against the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he gave up four earned runs, Yu Darvish had an ERA of 2.84, making American League hitters look silly. His pitches are all above average and he has quickly become the league’s best strikeout pitcher for the Texas Rangers.
Leading the entire MLB in strikeouts, Darvish has become a tough pitcher to get a hit off of. In fact, 36 percent of all batters to have faced Darvish this season have ended their at-bat with a strikeout. This is the kind of statistic that contributes to the discussion for the best pitcher in baseball.
His 105 strikeouts are 20 more than the next closest pitcher and 28 more than Clayton Kershaw — the league’s ERA leader. While ERA may be the best barometer of pitching hierarchy, the batting-average-against mark may be just as telling.
Darvish has just a solid 3.03 ERA as of today, but his potential is around the 2.50-2.80 mark and very well could end up in that range when the season ends. However, batters are hitting just .186 off of the second-year player and all of his numbers have improved from a season ago.
Is Darvish the best pitcher in the league?
In my opinion, the best pitcher in the league is an argument between Justin Verlander and Kershaw, however, Darvish is on the right track. If he keeps improving drastically like he has, he will become the best pitcher in the MLB before the age of 30.
He is on pace to get 300 strikeouts and walk 20 less people than he did in 2012. He is also on a pace to strike out 10 percent more of the batters he has faced than from a season ago.
Darvish may not be the best pitcher in baseball yet, but he very well could be in the coming years.