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The Yu Darvish scouting report

Nov 9, 2011, 12:40 PM EDT

darvish presser AP

Because it’s getting old to simply spout off the same old cliches about Japanese pitchers’ ability to make it in the United States, it’s a good time to look at an actual Yu Darvish scouting report. There’s one over at ProjectProspect.com today for your viewing pleasure.

The big takeaway: we probably need to stop lumping him in with other Japanese pitchers. He sounds like a totally different and better thing.

  1. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 9, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    The big takeaway: we probably need to stop lumping him in with other Japanese pitchers. He sounds like a totally different and better thing.

    Do we really? Did they change the pitching regimen in Japan since Nomo/Irabu/DiceK came over? Have the pitchers started throwing every 5 days instead of once a week?

    These are legitimate concerns and have been brought up repeatedly. But no, everyone seems to think there’s some racial component when comparing all those pitchers together.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 9, 2011 at 12:52 PM

      Well he is only half Japanese actually……

      • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:30 PM

        And isn’t he like 6’5″? Doesn’t sound exactly Japanese in that respect either. Mind you he’s also 185 lbs, so he’s more like a stick insect than human.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        LMAO!!! I hope everyone saw my comment as my inability to reign in my smartassedness… Yes, that’s a new word that describes me well. I can’t seem to help myself, It may be able to be classified as a disorder of sorts. But in reality, just because we aren’t supposed to use race as a measuring stick, it is often very difficult to ignore what you first see with your own eyes. This is why people tend to bring up the racial component here. Anyone who says they feel the Japanese race can’t pitch, probably also believe in the Bell curve and Eugenics. And I feel sorry for them, not the people they may focus on with their beliefs.

      • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        Are implying that I’m ‘humanist’? Because, if you are, I want you and everyone else to know, that some of my best friends are humans. I myself am 3/4 human, on my mom’s side. The remaining 1/4 is pure stud horse. If you mean I’m ‘insectist'; guilty as charged. I can’t stand those people.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        I thought you were 1/4 beaver…

      • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        Actually its “Beaver Lover/Wrestler”. The combination of 3/4 human + 1/4 stud horse = 100% Beaver aficionado. Its like baking a cake; you need all the best ingredients, in precise proportion, to be awesome.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM

        Just remember Cur, beaver is only separated from it’s closest neighbor (who’s a real a-hole btw) by the slimmest of margins. It taint a bad idea to be careful while wrestling to be sure not to land in the wrong back yard.

      • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        Ironic, J5, because squirrels are the closest living relations to Beavers. After the way they been ‘ho-ing for La Russa, I’m prepared to hang the a-hole tag on them.

  2. rollinghighwayblues - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    “where the batter sees a dot and thus reads breaking ball but the pitch actually stays straight”

    Hogwash. Anyone who is able to see a red dot due to the spin and seems of the ball, please contact me. It is virtually impossible to see a pitch coming at 90mph+ and a human eye able to make a red dot from the seems and spin.

  3. Chris K - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I’ve been following this guy for almost a solid year now. I know past performances of Japanese starters haven’t been good but this just seems like a risk worth taking. I really hope my Jays go after him. He Could be the centerpiece of the rotation for years if he pans out

  4. jgreiner9 - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Um being able to see the seems or the dot is what helps the batter identify the pitch that is being thrown. There’s other factors but yea this is one of the factors of knowing what’s being thrown as a hitter.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      I never said you can’t see the seems as whole but when they form a “dot” due to the way the pitch is thrown, come on, a hitter cannot identify that in time. If I’m standing in the box trying to identify a constellation out of the seems by a pitch thats traveling 90mph then I’m doomed to be blown away by the pitch.

      • okobojicat - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        @rollinghgihwayblues

        A hitter doesn’t see a red dot, think “hmm, ohh, that’s a red dot, must be a slider” and then project out that the ball will break more.

        It is more instinctual. Your eyes see a red dot and your mind/body knows the pitch will be slightly slower than a fastball and will not be straight. This is not a conscious thought. We already know hitters do this with altered arm angles and some pitchers also telegraph it with release points. A hitter gets the point where he knows the pitch will be “different” because he sees thousands of sliders in the minor leagues so he can identifiy.

        It is also not just a “spin” read but also a slight change in release point, motion, and arm angle. Some pitchers will speed up or slow down on a breaking ball or change up. The “difference” signals the hitter to anticipate a “non-fastball.” Great pitchers have no change in motion, release point, arm angle or anything so their pitches appear the same.

        @jgreiner
        Most curve balls do not have a dot. Some do. Sliders are usually 5-10 mph slower than fastball. Curveballs are usually 15+ mph slower than a fastball. For example, this year, Jared Weaver averaged 89mph on his fastball, 79mph on the slider, and 71 on the curvbeball.Kershaw is 93 w/ the fastball, 83 w/ the slider, and 73 with the curveball

    • gostros19 - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      you obviously have never seen a live pitch…step in a box then come back and tell me you see a red dot.

    • awriterorsomething - Nov 9, 2011 at 7:51 PM

      it seems the SEAMS are seldom seen

  5. jgreiner9 - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    The dot in the spin usually represents a curve ball, sometimes a slider but that’s seldom. It’s not hard to pick up considering a curveball isn’t thrown 90 mph

    • gostros19 - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:56 PM

      Refer to my previous comment……

    • rollinghighwayblues - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:59 PM

      ” think of it like a backup slider”

      Wrong. The infamous dot is associated with the slider. Always has been. The curveball has the same spin as a fastball, just spinning in the opposite direction.

      • bronxbomber213 - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        Dude by this comment alone we can all tell u never played an inning in your life. the curve ball spin is NOTHING LIKE a fastball! the fastball (4seam) spins end over end so as to keep it straight. a curve ball spins like a windmill or propeller would spin depending on a right or left hander..thats what gives it the bite and movement..if it spun like a fastball but opposite then the dude would be throwing underhand!

      • rollinghighwayblues - Nov 9, 2011 at 6:19 PM

        bronx: Do you understand how physics work? A curveball also spins end over end like a fastball but in the opposite direction, hence the bite it gives the ball to break downwards.

  6. jgreiner9 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    I have honestly never seen a curve that had the spin of a fastball, especially when you just said you can’t see any laces nor a dot. Curveball and slider have the dot

    • rollinghighwayblues - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      “I never said you can’t see the seems as whole ”

      You can see seems but to specifically see a dot is far-fetched. So if a curveball has this so-called dot that hitters can identify in a minute amount of time, wouldn’t it be called a slider?

  7. jgreiner9 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    A slider is considerably slower then a fastball. A curveball is as slow or slower then a slider. Seeing the dot goes along with pitch identification and hand eye coordination

    • rollinghighwayblues - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      Do you know how baseball works? Obviously not. Average speed for a MLB fastball is 91 mph. A changeup is 82 mph, a slider is 84 mph,and a curve is 76 mph.

  8. jgreiner9 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Yeah I’ve played in college and rookie ball until I blew out my knee and found out I have a degenerative disc in my back. You can pick up laces and spin it’s part of that good ole hand eye coordination and pitch recognition. Hence what makes the pros so good. Being able to identify and hit it. They don’t just close their eyes thinking oh im not going to be able to see this so please let me make contact.

  9. tcostant - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    I saw this gut pitch in the World Baseball Classic in San Diego in 2009. The second he signs, he will be a top 20 starting ptcher in all of baseball. I would invest a posting bid of $40M to $50M to get him. He will be a stud for years to come.

  10. randomdigits - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    So don’t group him with the others but in the link you provided:

    “Darvish’s statistical profile is awfully similar to Daisuke Matsuzaka.”

  11. jgreiner9 - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Thank you bronxbomber213!

  12. spudchukar - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is what you are taught in low-level minor leagues, and it is why, bad breaking balls sometimes jam right-handed hitters (from right-handed pitchers). True sliders spin more like a bullet, and the dot opens up some. With the advent of the cutter, which has similar action like the slider, but retains a dot by some pitchers, but as rumor has it can also look a lot like a fastball, at least for the majority of the trip to the plate.

    • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 5:31 PM

      Ah. I was waiting for you to weigh in Spuddy. I’ve stood in against a friend who can throw in the low 90’s and has 3 pitches; fastball, curve and slider. I too remember seeing that dot, but only on the curve for me. He said that pitch was only in the 70’s, but it sure moved around a lot. Everything else went zooming past me so fast I was shocked to discover he’d even thrown it.

      All the back and forth here, I wasn’t sure what to think; my buddy throws weird or I mis-remember. Thanks.

  13. pbannard - Nov 9, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I’ve always thought it overly simplistic to lump all the Japanese pitchers together and classify them generally as failures. Sure, there have been some flops, but Nomo averaged about 3 WAR per season for the first 9 years of his career and ended up pitching nearly 2000 innings in the majors with a league average ERA+ (including his decline years). And everyone ignores that Hiroki Kuroda came over as a 33 year old and has averaged 3 WAR a season in his age 33 to 36 seasons. I agree that there are some concerns about pitchers from Japan, but let’s not pretend that they’ve had no success, because it’s blatantly untrue.

  14. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Dec 14, 2011 at 7:18 PM

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