Since he made the jump overseas from Japan to Major League Baseball prior to the 2012 season, we’ve been treated to nothing but brilliance from Yu Darvish. The Texas Rangers hurler has avoided whatever issues have recently plagued Asian imports in the bigs in order to become one of the more dominant starters anywhere in baseball.
Darvish arrived in Texas with much fanfare prior to the 2012 season. And he lived up to the hype with a strong debut. He struggled at times, but still pitched to a very solid 3.90 ERA, 3.29 FIP, over 10 strikeouts per nine. He totaled over 220 K’s on the season, to 89 free passes for the year.
It was an impressive showing in his first season, to be sure. However, the 2013 Darvish has come out and obliterated whatever he accomplished in his rookie year. An American League Cy Young candidate, Darvish has erased everything he did in 2012, and replaced it with outstanding figures, all over the board.
Darvish’s simple stats this season consist of a 2.68 ERA, 225 strikeouts, and only 58 walks. His K/9 is way up over 12, and he’s on pace to walk less hitters than he did all of last season. His WHIP is an outstanding 1.04. Even looking at his peripherals, they’re down across the board. He’s sporting a 3.04 FIP. He’s stranding 84 percent of baserunners, almost a full 14 percent higher than he did last year.
Part of what has made Darvish so successful is his pitch selection. He’s all but dropped the cutter, throwing it only three percent of the time, and relied heavily on a slider that he threw less than 19 percent of the time. In fact, usage of that pitch has jumped all the way up to 38 percent. It’s been an obvious factor in his rise to the elite this season.
When you talk about the 2013 season of Yu Darvish, you’re really talking about one of the better seasons ever by a starting pitcher. He’s been absolutely phenomenal. There really isn’t anything you can look at and not be downright impressed. If the Texas Rangers once again fail to perform in the playoffs, it almost certainly won’t be because of Yu Darvish.