What they like about Yu (Darvish)

With the deadline for bids for Yu Darvish now in the past, I thought it was time to see what all the fuss is about. The headline possibilities are almost endless:

What I like about Yu (variation used above)

I only had Yu

Yu had me at hello

Anyway, you get the point.


We’ll know soon who has won the rights to negotiate with the right-hander. To get fans of teams who might be in the running ready, I spoke with a scout in Japan who has seen Darvish throw on many occasions. Here’s what he had to say:


If you ask him, he throws more than ten pitches. I’ve seen him throw four-seamers, two-seamers, cutters, splitters, forkballs, curve balls, sliders, and changeups with variation on most of the breaking stuff.  What he uses depends on how he’s feeling that day.  Basically, he’ll sit 93-95 mph and touch as high as 98 mph. His two seamers are 91-93 mph, his cutter is 89-91 mph. I’ve seen the curve as low as 64 and as high as 82 with pretty good arm speed. The slider can be 86-87, 82-84, 77-78 (Japanese slurve), all over the place, really. It’s his go-to pitch.  Splitter 87-88, but he doesn’t throw it much.  His hands are small for a guy his size, and it looks like he has trouble getting his fingers around the ball for the splitter. He’s very good with a very high ceiling. He has the right amount of cockiness to get through the new challenges that await him.  I think he’s a #3 starter at worst, obviously with a chance to be an ace.

There’s a lot of information about Darvish out there, with more assuredly to come. Hopefully this adds a little something to that file.


I’m surprised he’d be described as a “#3 at worst’…that would typically go as to say he only had two plus pitches…maybe because he doesn’t have a true change-up to work away from LHH…If anything #2 seems a little more realistic, given more than two plus pitches if the command turns out average. I think he could get away with not having a CH due to the three different FBs, a true CB/SL that change planes differently and a mix-in hard split.

How many No. 3 starters do you know that have 2 pitchers that actually grade out as plus? The real point is I think that’s the absolute baseline and given the difficulties Japanese pitchers have had in finding long-term success in MLB, perhaps that was thrown out there as just a “let’s see what he does here” kind of caveat.

I live in Japan and I have seen him pitch live more than a few times.
He is amazing to watch! At times he reminds me of Randy Johnson back with the M’s but with better control. I mean he gets plenty of swingers and his fair share of lookers. But he makes hitters look like they are just breaking into the minors.

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