- Full name Yu Darvish
- Born 08/16/1986 in Osaka, Japan
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Tohoku
- Debut 04/09/2012
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Slider in the American League in 2014
- Rated Best Slider in the Texas Rangers in 2012
- Rated Best Fastball in the Texas Rangers in 2012
Background: Darvish's Iranian father and Japanese mother met while attending Eckerd (Fla.) College. He became a high school sensation in Japan, coming out of the same Tohoku High program that produced former all-star Kazuhiro Sasaki and Takashi Saito, before the Nippon-Ham Fighters selected him in the first round of Japan's 2005 draft. He joined the Fighters later that year and helped lead them to the Japan Series championship in 2006, winning the clincher. In the five years since, he has gone 76-28, 1.72 with 50 complete games and 1,083 strikeouts in 1,024 innings. He won the Sawamura Award (Japan's equivalent of the Cy Young Award) in 2007, pitched in the 2008 Olympics and helped Japan win the 2009 World Baseball Classic, where Baseball America ranked him as the event's No. 1 prospect. The Fighters posted him in December, making him available to major league teams, and the Rangers had the top bid at $51,703,411--eclipsing the $51,111,111.11 the Red Sox bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka's rights in 2006. Darvish agreed to a six-year deal worth $56 million on Jan. 18.Scouting Report: Darvish has the stuff, aggressiveness and durability that scouts look for in a frontline starter. His best pitch is a fastball that sits at 92-95 mph and touched 99 when he worked in relief at the WBC. His heater plays up because of its quality life and command. He can throw a two-seamer with hard sink and cut his fastball as well. Darvish's second-best offering is a plus slider in the low 80s that he'll use in any count. He throws two versions of a curveball, a harder version to get swings and misses and a slower version to get ahead in the count. He also mixes in a 90-91 mph splitter and a changeup, and all of his pitches grade as at least 60s on the 20-80 scouting scale when they're on. Darvish stands tall in his delivery and possesses good athleticism that allows him to consistently repeat his delivery and command his pitches. His stuff also should be firm enough for him to challenge hitters rather than nibble around the edges. He's strong and physical, which should allow him to handle the rigors of pitching every fifth day in a U.S. rotation. However, he made only one of his 28 starts in Japan last year following four days of rest; the remainder came after five or more days off. The main knock against Darvish earlier in his career was a tendency to fall in love with his secondary pitches, but he was more aggressive with his fastball in 2011, when offense in Japan plunged because of reduced lighting (stemming from the Fukushima nuclear accident) and less lively balls. "He is better prepared to get guys out over here in the States," Padres Pacific Rim scouting coordinator Trevor Schumm said. "He is not like some of the Japanese pitchers in the past with decent fastballs that just do not use it enough."The Future: The Rangers failed to retain Cliff Lee after the 2010 season and C.J. Wilson after 2011, but Darvish gives them a No. 1 starter for the foreseeable future. While Japanese pitchers such as Hideo Nomo and Matsuzaka had short-lived success in the United States, Darvish appears to be built for the long haul. Just 25, he's coming to Texas at the peak of his career and immediately will step to the front of the Rangers rotation.
- Japan activated RHP Yu Darvish.