Sleeper Report: Rookies
Yu Darvish – SP – Rangers
At the age of 24 Darvish has already established himself as one of the best pitchers in Japan. In seven years with Nippon-Ham Darvish has posted a 93 and 38 career record while posting 1259 strikeouts in 1268.1 innings pitched. His 1.99 ERA includes five consecutive seasons of having an ERA under 2.00.
Darvish is large for a Japanese pitcher at 6 ft 5 in and 215 pounds and throws from a three-quarters arm slot in a drop-and-drive motion. The righty throws a four-seam fastball that tops out at 96, but has a total of six pitches:
” 90-96 MPH 4-seam fastball
” 90-93 MPH 2-seam fastball which resembles a shuuto, a pitch throw by some Japanese right-handed pitchers that tends to break down and in against right-handed batters
” 90-92 MPH cutter
” 85-ish MPH horizontally breaking slider
” Low 80s downward-breaking slider, which Newman says looks more like a power curve
” 65-70 MPH curveball
You can compare Darvish to Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideo Nomo, Kei Igawa or Kaz Ishii, but Darvish is bigger, younger and simply better than all of them coming to Major League Baseball.
He is going to be a good pitcher, the question is how good and how soon. Darvish is worth taking somewhere after the 10th round, though this could easily go up as we enter 2012 Spring Training.