This was a boring weekend, I’m not going to lie. This was really the first weekend without baseball that really sank in; I mean we had the parade last week, but this weekend there was really nothing, especially with my scuffling New York Football Giants on their bye week.
So I have basically been looking around at free agents and top prospects for the last 48 hours, as you might have seen from my last blog about Aroldis Chapman
Another name caught my eye and like Chapman, may or may not be a good fit in pinstripes. I guess it all depends on what he wants to do and the decisions he makes.
This prospective major leaguer’s name is Yu Darvish.
Darvish is a 23 year-old right hander from Osaka, Japan and has played his entire career in the Far East. And so far he has been very impressive, posting a lifetime record of 61-22 with a 2.14 ERA in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan.
Pretty good record and ERA if I do say so myself, especially considering Darvish has only been a pro since 2005.
Not only that, but he has been scouted since junior high school; different schools wanted Darvish before he even reached the high school level and he opted to go to Tohoku High School, the same school that produced major leaguers Kazuhiro Sasaki (formerly of the Seattle Mariners) and Takashi Saito (currently of the Red Sox)
After high school (where he shined by the way, posting a career ERA of 1.10 with 375 strikeouts in 332 1/3 innings) he was drafted by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
And with the Fighters he has been so good, he has earned two All-Star selections, the 2007 Pacific League Most Valuable Player award, and proving he can field his position, he has won two Golden Glove Awards (the equivalent of our Gold Glove award)
Obviously he has got game.
In terms of pitch selection, Darvish features a fastball that has maxed out at 98 mph, a hard slider with table-dropping break, a curve ball, a fork ball, a cutter, and a changeup. Darvish’s go-to pitch is his sinker and he has also tried out a knuckleball, but does not utilize it on a consistent basis.
Talk about having a vast arsenal of weapons. I guess most Japanese pitchers do, though; before Daisuke Matsuzaka came to this country none of us knew what a gyro ball was!
It depends on what Darvish wants to do; he has been scouted by MLB teams before, even when he was in high school. The Angels, Mets, Dodgers, and Braves have all tried to get him. He just felt his allegiance should stay in Japan, so he opted to stay there.
But I’ve been hearing some rumors about him coming over to the U.S. and if and when he does, should the Yankees take a look at him or try and get him?
It looks worth it. I mean with Chapman it’s different; he is good, but no one really knows a lot about him except that he has defected from Cuba, wants to pitch for MLB, and throws hard. With Darvish they have a variety of (really good) numbers to look at along with a five-year career in Japan.
Like I said, it’s only a matter of his choice–does he want to pitch here or stay in Japan?
He is much different than the other pitchers the Yankees have gotten from Japan in the past; I think he would be a lot better than Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa. I think he already is, actually; neither Irabu nor Igawa were as big as Darvish currently is in their home country. Darvish is a spokesperson for coffee over there!
And…well…at least I’m certain Darvish wouldn’t get called a “fat toad” by the Yankees’ owner, as Irabu did, or be in the minor leagues as Igawa is right now.
Not to mention he has at least had some experience pitching against hitters from the United States. In the World Baseball Classic this year, Darvish tossed a scoreless inning in the semi-final game vs. the U.S., allowing no runs on a single and striking out two batters en route to Japan’s 9-4 win over the U.S.
It may not be much experience against U.S. batters, but it’s something.
Darvish just has all the history and accolades already in place; great numbers throughout his career and multiple honors, unlike many other Japan-born hurlers. I know Japanese pitchers have not been very kind to the Yanks in the past, but this time would be different, if it even happens.
Would I accept Darvish as a Yankee? Yu betcha!