Yu Darvish was one of the most sought after pitchers to come out of Japan. On this day in 2012, the Texas Rangers secured his services with a six year contract.
There was no question that when Yu Darvish came through the posting system that there would be a great deal of excitement. A phenom who burst on the Japanese stage as an 18 year old when he threw a no hitter in National High School Baseball Championship, he was on the cusp of stardom. Then, after Diasuke Matsuzaka departed for the Red Sox, Darvish was tabbed as the player who would keep the country interested in Nippon Pro Baseball.
He more than held up his end of the bargain. Over his time with the Nippon Ham Fighters, Darvish posted an incredible 93-38 record with a 1.99 ERA and a 0.985 WHiP. He struck out 1250 batters in 1268.1 innings, while issuing only 333 walks. Darvish truly dominated, and when he was posted, the only question would be whether or not he would set a record.
Article continues below ...
That happened when the Texas Rangers had the winning bid to negotiate with Darvish. Before posting limits were capped at $20 Million, the Rangers placed a record $51.7 Million bid. That number eclipsed the Red Sox bid for Matsuzaka by $200,000. Then, on this day in 2012, the Rangers and Darvish reached an agreement on a six year, $60 Million contract, doing so just before the deadline.
When healthy, Darvish has certainly lived up to the hype in Arlington. He has posted a 46-30 record with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.183 WHiP. In his 100 career appearances spanning 645.2 innings, Darvish has struck out 812 batters in 645.2 innings, issuing only 249 walks.
Despite missing a season and a half due to Tommy John surgery, Darvish has made three All Star Games, finished second in the Cy Young balloting, and has established himself as the Rangers ace. Now that he should be fully healthy following the procedure, Darvish could well take his place back in the upper echelon of American League pitchers.
It is safe to say that Darvish has been as advertised. While there have been quite a few highly touted players who have struggled upon coming stateside, Darvish has not fallen victim to those pitfalls. The only question is if he can regain his effectiveness and once again return to his previously dominant form.