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Ever since the Texas Rangers were announced winners of the Yu Darvish sweepstakes, comparisons to another Japanese pitcher and the questioning of the organization’s decision to bid on him in the first place has run rampant.
While he has never pitched for a Major League Baseball team during a regular season, Darvish has pitched against big-league hitters during the World Baseball Classic in 2009, striking out 20 hitters in just 13 innings of work. Compare that to another pitcher people say he could be, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who only struck out 13 batters in 14.2 innings.
Another reason you can tear down the comparison of Darvish to Matsuzaka is their size. Darvish stands 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds while Matsuzaka stands just 6-foot and 185 pounds.
Darvish is bigger, stronger and has proven that not only in Japan but also pitching against some of the best major-league hitters across the globe.
Then there’s calling the 25-year-old right-hander “a complete unknown,” which was done by a local radio station here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. That is also not completely accurate.
His experience in the World Baseball Classic and the years the Texas Rangers spent scouting him make him very well known by not only this organization but those who knew just how good this young pitcher would be. Though most will say the WBC is a very small sample size, what they can’t say is he didn’t face a single big-league hitter.
Comparing him to other unsuccessful Japanese pitchers or calling him a “risk” is something that will be done by those who don’t know much about him or haven’t looked at his background. There’s no question making a comparison is easy especially since Major League Baseball hasn’t seen much from any Japanese player save for Ichiro Suzuki.
The Rangers scouted him for as long as they did for a reason. They bid $51.7 million just to talk to him and his agent for a reason. They know the young pitcher can succeed in Major League Baseball.
If there were any questions at all, Darvish wouldn’t be talking to the Texas Rangers. While there’s been no announcement of a contract yet, just six days prior to the January 18 deadline, most can’t see the two sides not coming to an agreement.
Before we question the move of trying to bring Darvish in, you might want to answer this one question: Since Nolan Ryan took over the team, what move hasn’t worked out? Is there one player they’ve brought in or let go over the past two seasons that hasn’t gone the Rangers’ way?
About a month ago, they were criticized again for not matching the offer of the Los Angeles Angels for Wilson. We are yet to see how that move is going to work out.
Before we call Darvish anything at all from a complete unknown to comparing him to another Japanese turned MLB pitcher, it’s time to watch the young man in action.
If you’re a skeptic, you need to heed the words of the great Lee Corso: “Not so fast, my friend.”