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We’re expecting a lot from Yu

Jan 18, 2012, 6:22 PM EDT

yu darvish in nippon uniform

Yeah, I went with the cute headline. Sue me.

In signing Yu Darvish to a six-year, $60 million contract, the Rangers committed $111.7 million to the 25-year-old hurler. Whether he’ll stay healthy and justify the expense is anyone’s guess, but given his track record, it was a price worth paying.

My guess is that Darvish becomes far and away the Rangers’ best hurler and the American League Rookie of the Year this season. A Cy Young Award seems unlikely, but it can’t be completely ruled out. My projection for the upcoming Rotoworld draft guide calls for a 15-8 record, a 3.49 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings.

Darvish’s first big test will be the adjustment from pitching once a week to once every five or six days. The second will be the Texas heat in the summer. Put him in the NL in a bigger ballpark and I would have projected him for a sub-3.00 ERA this year. Rangers Ballpark, though, is the most hitter friendly in the AL.

I see Darvish getting off to a terrific start, but fading as the year goes on and maybe logging some time on the disabled list with arm fatigue. Darvish was a workhorse in Japan — he completed 10 of his 28 starts and threw 232 innings last season — but this new schedule will take some getting used to. It actually might be for the best if he misses a chunk of July or August; the Rangers should have the depth to cover for him and he’d likely be stronger down the stretch and, hopefully, in the postseason.

  1. bloodysock - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Ask not what the Rangers can do for Yu; ask what Yu can do for the Rangers.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Surely Yu can’t be serious

      • kickingiant - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        He is, and don’t call him Shirley.

  2. kyleortonsarm - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    I used to just dislike you as a writer but thanks to that headline I now dislike you as a person also.

    • Bryz - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      Does this mean you’re going to sue Pouliot? After all, that’s what he said you could do if you didn’t like the headline.

  3. yankeestitletown - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I think Matt Moore will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award over Yu Darvish. At least he has thrown a pitch in the majors.

    • miketreedy - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:33 PM

      Moore is a great candidate to win but if Darvish pitches well he could get several more wins because of the great run support he will receive.

      • yankeestitletown - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:16 PM

        Jeremy Hellickson beating Ivan Nova in the 2011 Rookie of the Year proved ERA and WHIP is more important that Wins and Losses.

      • paperlions - Jan 19, 2012 at 6:40 AM

        It also proved that pitching in Tampa is a huge advantage, major pitchers park and a good defense make pitchers look better than they are….Yu will have to pitch much better in Arlington than Moore with have to in Tampa to look just as good to those that can’t be bothered with park adjustments.

  4. hackerjay - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    I’m pretty sure that Darvish was pitching on four day’s rest this last season so that he could get into shape for the MLB.

    • jwbiii - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      No, Yu made 28 starts. Other starters made 25 or 26 starts, so the Fighters pitched him on relatively short rest down the stretch, but nothing like four days for the full season.

  5. bearsstillsuck - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Baseball needs a hard cap.

    • paperlions - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:18 PM

      Baseball needs a better revenue sharing model and more reasonable prices.

      • paperlions - Jan 19, 2012 at 6:43 AM

        How much money to large market teams play when they are the only team on the field? Pro sports leagues should be a financial group effort, with competition being on the field….otherwise you are just going to kill some of your markets and make the sport less profitable over time.

    • Old Gator - Jan 19, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Just outta curiosity, anybody know if the posting fee gets figured in the luxury tax along with the salary or not?

      • kopy - Jan 19, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        I have heard one person say that it does not, but that’s it. I’d be curious to know for sure.

  6. phukyouk - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    15-8 with an almost 4 ERA is rookie of the year? you don’t think you’re jumping the gun just a bit?

  7. natstowngreg - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    You will be hearing from my attorney in the morning.

    Darvish will be like a pitcher coming back from injury, and not used to starting every 5th day. So I agree about him needing a break at some point during his first MLB season.

    • Old Gator - Jan 19, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      I think this guy is going to get shelled like a bag of pistachios once the local strange wears him out and the league has gotten a good look at him.

  8. whittle79 - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    You guys are jealous !!
    He is a stud !
    He will go 2.98 era with 200 k an a 17-4 record !
    No worries yu will be on my fantasy team !! Haha

    • Bryz - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      Tim Lincecum looks kind of feminine with his long hair and his 2 Cy Youngs.

    • brewcitybummer - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      Speaking of fantasy, anyone know of a site that enables you to draft and keep prospects? Or do you have to run that type of league offline?

      • JBerardi - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:22 PM

        Only Google knows for sure.

      • Alex K - Jan 19, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        Yahoo does.

  9. whittle79 - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    He 25 !!

  10. whittle79 - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    I am not even a texas fan ! I Am a Die hard Tigers fan !!
    This kid is gonna put some nice numbers up !!

  11. cur68 - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Good luck with the Texas heat, Yu. If you can’t bear it, keep in mind Toronto has a dome you can pitch in climate controlled splendor. Kid’s gonna be good. IMO Mathew’s projection is about right.

    • stex52 - Jan 19, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      Honestly, I know nothing about the guy. But I think you have your finger on the critical point. I know a lot about Texas heat and humidity, and there is very little like the D-FW area in mid-summer. I’ve been to Japan, and I have to say if he hasn’t been here in the summer he has no idea.

      OG may also be right that the major leaguers will figure him out, but I think stamina is going to be a challenge.

  12. rcali - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    AAA to the bigs is a big jump. Our batters are juiced up in this country.

  13. 303bengalguy - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Woulda been funnier if you said Su me…

  14. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 19, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    the next dice-K and i cant wait for him to come back!

  15. btwicey - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Shouldve just signed Edwin at a much cheaper 15 million a year…. Cringe.

  16. paperlions - Jan 19, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Well, they actually play baseball in Japan….so, you see, this guy has played before. True, not against MLB-level competition, but his record in Japan is crazy good. His WORST season over there was better than any season by any pitcher that has come over to pitch in the Majors….that’s right, his WORST was still better than Kuroda or Nomo or Dice-K at their best.

    Another crazy fact: MLB teams actually send scouts to Japan to watch guys play and then report back with opinions…it is totally sabermetric free.

  17. unlost1 - Jan 19, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    i’m just happy you (Yu) finally got some different pictures of him.

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