Yu Darvish an Elite Pitcher?
In a blockbuster trade right at the deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired right handed starting pitcher Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers, in exchange for prospects A.J. Alexy, Willie Calhoun, and Brendon Davis. The 30 year old looks to integrate with the Dodgers' elite pitching staff, but will he succeed, or flounder in his new home? We'll be taking a look at what Darvish has done and what we expect from him going forward.
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We all know Darvish is a good pitcher. Great even. But in this day and age, when we talk about elite pitching, we mean Kershaw, Scherzer, Sale, etc... Just how good is Darvish, and does he compare? Standard stats can give us a good read on him. This season during his tenure with the Texas Rangers, he had a 4.01 ERA and 1.168 WHIP. He had a losing record at 6-9.
Does this give us the whole story though?
More in-depth stats and advanced metrics can give us a better read on Darvish. They, of course, aren't predictive, but are a great indication of his actual skill. At 9.7 SO/9, he's averaging over 1 strikeout every inning he pitches. When he was still in Texas, that was good for 8th in the AL. His strikeout to walk ratio is at 3.29 as well. FIP is important, but it isn't too far off from his actual ERA, sitting at 3.98. These were all taken from before his move to Los Angeles.
At 30 years old, he seems to be declining a bit in terms of velocity and skill, but he's still had major accomplishments. A 4 time All Star, Darvish was also the strikeout leader in 2013, with a stunning 277 in 209.2 IP, to notch an 11.9 SO/9 season. He also only allowed 6.9 hits/9 that same year. That was clearly his best, but with his current stats, he's still good enough to be in the Dodgers' rotation.
Darvish Will Succeed With the Dodgers
The move to Los Angeles was genius. It was one of the few places Darvish could have traded to because of a no movement clause, and the Dodgers wrapped him up just in time to replace an injured Clayton Kershaw. Currently on the 10 day DL, there's no telling how Kershaw will return. While he might not be horrid, it's possible he throws just a bit slower, has just a bit less control, maybe a bit more cautious. There's really no way to tell until we see him.
Darvish is an ideal replacement, and while he doesn't stack up to Kershaw today, he's comparable to his other two journeymen starting mates, Ryu and Maeda, and even Wood and Hill. Remember, Darvish is coming from the AL, while this Dodgers pitching rotation has had to deal with a relatively easy out almost every time around the order. Adjusting his ERA, WHIP, FIP, and SO/9, the right hander will have a much easier time in Los Angeles.
This leads to another reason why Darvish will succeed. It goes beyond his pitching and the team's fielding. The catchers for the Dodgers are much better at framing than in Texas. This means that on the Dodgers, he'll be getting the benefit of the doubt on a lot of balls, getting them called as strikes. In his first game, with Yasmani Grandal behind the plate, we see a clearly low ball being called a strike because of Grandal's framing.
If this keeps up, compounded with Darvish's move to the National League, his numbers could reach savage highs like when he first started his MLB career.
My Team's Next MatchLos Angeles Dodgers
So case in point, we have a game to see how Darvish has done, and it seems the Dodgers will be very successful with him. Going 7 innings with only 3 hits and striking out 10 is pretty much as good a start as you can get, and with his new NL team, which is great at fielding, hitting the ball, and framing balls for him, there's no sign of Darvish regressing, only getting better numbers, and making this already record breaking team even more scary.
If the Dodgers are going to get even better, maybe it's time to jump on that train and get your account at Sports Interaction so you can take advantage of great odds on LA's upcoming games! If you like the rest of this article, be sure to share it and comment below!
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