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December 2011

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COMMENTS

Yu Darvish

Written by , Posted in Stat of the Week

by John Dewan

According to his agent, Don Nomura, Yu Darvish was posted yesterday (Thursday, December 8) for a move to MLB from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the top Japanese professional baseball league.  This is a process whereby major-league teams bid in a silent auction for the exclusive rights to negotiate with Darvish.  The auction is four days long.

Darvish is the latest superstar Japanese player to make the move across the Pacific, and MLB teams have been waiting for him to become available ever since he recorded the final out of the 2009 World Baseball Classic to clinch Japan’s second WBC title.  And now that the big names like Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson are off the board, Darvish becomes one of the best remaining free-agent starting pitchers available.

Each year in The Bill James Handbook we include the career stats of players that are most likely to leave the Japanese leagues to come over and play in the United States.  This year, Darvish is obviously the most high-profile such player.

Here are Darvish’s career numbers from Japan, playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Season

Age

Wins

Losses

ERA

IP

SO

2005

18

5

5

3.53

94.1

52

2006

19

12

5

2.89

149.2

115

2007

20

15

5

1.82

207.2

210

2008

21

16

4

1.88

200.2

208

2009

22

15

5

1.73

182.0

167

2010

23

12

8

1.78

202.0

222

2011

24

18

6

1.44

232.0

276

Career

93

38

1.99

1268.1

1250

If you are curious how that compares to the last highly-touted young pitcher that helped Japan win a World Baseball Classic title (MVP of the 2006 tournament) before deciding to join MLB the following year, here are Daisuke Matsuzaka’s career numbers playing for the Seibu Lions.

Season

Age

Wins

Losses

ERA

IP

SO

1999

18

16

5

2.60

180.0

151

2000

19

14

7

3.97

167.2

144

2001

20

15

15

3.60

240.1

214

2002

21

6

2

3.68

73.1

78

2003

22

16

7

2.83

194.0

215

2004

23

10

6

2.90

146.0

127

2005

24

14

13

2.30

215.0

226

2006

25

17

5

2.13

186.1

200

Career

108

60

2.95

1402.2

1355

It will be interesting to see what kind of posting fee and contract Darvish gets.  Dice-K pitched a bit more at a young age, but Darvish has been more consistently dominant than Dice-K was.  Darvish has had an ERA under 2.00 for five years running, and threw more than 200 innings in four of those five years.  Will that lead to a similar $100 million outlay, like Dice-K got ($51 million posting fee plus $52 million 6-year contract), or will teams spend more cautiously after seeing the up-and-down performance of Dice-K since he entered MLB?

You can find more statistics on Japanese players that are likely to sign MLB contracts this year in The Bill James Handbook 2012.

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.”

  • BLPCB

    I think it will take 40M to get Darvish, and then a 6/60M contract.

  • Doc Raker

    Has any Japanese player other than Ichiro been worth his contract? Not to say the Japanese players are not competent major leaguer players but they seem to get more than they end up performing. It is an auction of a somewhat unknown quantity, a bit of a crap shoot if you will.

  • Buddy

    I’m not very good at the “worth” game, but Hideki Matsui has been a fine player in the states.

  • Buddy

    From ESPN.com…

    “National League MVP Ryan Braun, who last season led the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title in nearly three decades, has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and faces a 50-game suspension if the initial finding is upheld, two sources familiar with the case told Outside the Lines.”

  • Seymour Butts

    Looks like Santa will be skipping Ryan Braun’s house, he’s been a very, very bad boy.

  • Those PEDs? You guessed it: greenies.

  • BLPCB

    I read it’s for high testosterone levels, and the tests showed synthetic testosterone. The same thing Floyd Landis was busted for. This doesn’t look good. Maybe he ought to hire Landis’ lawyers.

  • Doc Raker

    When are they going to bust Pujols? I don’t think Yu is worth $100M per BLPCBHGH pontification.

  • BLPCB

    Yeah, I think he’s dirty too, because of his elbow. I would love to see that 2003 list released and Bonds, Sosa, Clemens, Tejada, and Palmero all show up on the list. Because that would mean, BUSTED! They’ll be going to the slammer.

  • Buddy

    I read he tested positive for Golics…Hey hey!

  • Lando87

    Santa would’ve been skipping Braun’s house anyway, he is more of a Hannukah type guy.

  • BLPCB

    Well then that means no movies or Chinese food on Xmas for him

  • flyslinger2

    So he practices bathtub chemistry. He can’t play baseball everyday. If MLB wanted to be serious about their drug policy they would be checking EVERYDAY. Millions of kids idolize these players and they should be expected to live up to that standard. You will have plenty of time when your career is over to party and live the
    Ifestyle of the rich and used to be famous.