Yu Darvish at the 2009 World Baseball Classic (Getty Images)
So the Texas Rangers have decided that the next six years of Yu Darvish's pitching career are worth something like $111.7 million, a remarkable number for a player with no major league experience. The Rangers submitted a record $51.7 posting bid, then inked Darvish to a six-year deal worth $60 million ($56 million guaranteed). You'll find a year-by-year contract breakdown right here, if you care about such things.
Darvish's price tag isn't much of a concern in the fantasy community, except as an indication of the team's expectations. When a club invests nine figures in a pitcher, they generally expect an ace. Darvish has been almost impossibly good over the past five seasons in Japan — in fact, each year has been better than Daisuke Matsuzaka's best, better than Hiroki Kuroda, better than Colby Lewis.
Just check the stats, 2007-'11:
2007, age 20 — 15-5, 1.82 ERA, 0.828 WHIP, 207.2 IP, 210 Ks, 49 BB, 9 HR
2008, age 21 — 16-4, 1.88 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 200.2 IP, 208 Ks, 44 BB, 11 HR
2009, age 22 — 15-5, 1.73 ERA, 0.896 WHIP, 182.0 IP, 167 Ks, 45 BB, 9 HR
2010, age 23 — 12-8, 1.78 ERA, 1.015 WHIP, 202.0 IP, 222 Ks, 47 BB, 5 HR
2011, age 24 —18-6, 1.44 ERA, 0.828 WHIP, 232.0 IP, 276 Ks, 36 BB, 5 HR
Ridiculous. That's absolute mastery by any standard. Darvish posted a sub-2.00 ERA in back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back years, a Walter Johnson-level feat. Of course the hitting talent Darvish faced during that five-year stretch was nothing like what he'll find in MLB, but, well ... he destroyed the league. Exactly how much better do you think anyone else could have pitched? Matsuzaka never delivered a sub-2.00 ERA in Japan, nor did Lewis (2.68 in 2008, 2.96 in '09). Kuroda did it once, then posted a 3.56 ERA and 1.213 WHIP in 2007, his final season with Hiroshima.
So, just to be clear: Yu Darvish is very good.
Read More »from Scout’s take: What can we expect from Yu Darvish?