Yu Darvish Pitch Count

Japanese Superstar and possible future MLB ace Yu Darvish is racking up an under-heard of pitch count during the 2010 NPL season.

Update: (end of 2010 season)

The Japanese Baseball season is over. Here are the final pitch count numbers for Yu Darvish

And in graph format

Towards the end of the season the Nippon-Ham Fighters eased up on Darvish’s pitch count, including a stretch of four starts in a row below 130 pitches (Aug 20 – Sept 11). Of course, after that they ran him out to the hill for consecutive 146 pitch outings. Oddly enough Yu wasn’t finished, as he made a 12 pitch relief performance just days after his final 146 pitch start of the season.

In total Yu Darvish threw 140 or more pitches NINE different times during the 2010 season. Only one MLB pitcher, Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter (149) hit the 140 mark.

For the season Yu threw 3234 pitches. This would rank him 43rd overall in the MLB. Young Jays starter Ricky Romero is a spot ahead at 3241. Four MLB pitchers threw over 3700 pitches in 2010 (Haren, Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Jered Weaver).

Darvish and the Fighters have made it clear that Yu will spend the 2011 season in Japan, and then be posted in time for the 2012 MLB campaign.

Will prospective buyers be more concerned with the game-by-game stats or go by the overall season pitch count total?

Note: Original article with additional analysis is below

Pitch Count Stats (as of Aug 13th)

Total Pitches: 2303

Average per Start: 127.94


Darvish has not only averaged 128 pitches per outing, he’s also broken the 140+ pitch mark on six different occasions.

This MLB season (as of August 13th), the 130-140 mark has been reached only three times, with 140+ being reached only once:

  • Chris Narveson: 130
  • Roy Halladay: 132
  • Brandon Morrow: 137
  • Edwin Jackson: 149
  • Of course we all remember the stir that Edwin Jackson’s 149 pitch no-hitter caused. Here’s a sample from the AP recap:

    “All’s well that ends well. We stopped counting at about 115,” Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. “You do want to make smart decisions. You do have a chance at history and you don’t want to take it away from him.”

    No one has thrown that many pitches in a nine-inning game since June 3, 2005, when Washington’s Livan Hernandez(notes) threw 150 against the Marlins

    Meh… Darvish has broken the 150 mark a total of two times this season. And it happened in back-to-back outings of 150 & 156!

    Silver Lining: Yu Darvish isn’t on a typical four day MLB rest schedule. He averages 6+ days between starts. Q: Does this alleviate concerns?

    Yu Darvish 2010 Season (130+ pitches bolded)



    Will this scare away MLB club front offices?

    From a Jeff Passan Yahoo Article (March 2010)

    One American League executive guessed if Darvish posted after this season the fee to negotiate a deal would cost “around $75 million.” Another suggested “it could be even higher.” If the Red Sox paid $51 million for a 26-year-old Matsuzaka, a 22-year-old Darvish could command a 50 percent premium.

    What do you think?

    A) Do you agree with that pitch counts are over-rated? Our own Mopupduty.com writer Callum wrote an article dismissing the importance of pitch counts

    B) Do you believe that they indeed do matter and that Darvish should be seen as ticking timebomb?

    C) Does your opinion land somewhere in-between A & B? Do you believe that certain pitchers have the ability to continually perform (and stay healthy), despite high pitch counts?

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    10 replies on “Yu Darvish Pitch Count”
    1. says: brent in Korea

      This is abuse of a 22 year old. I don’t think it would scare teams away, but not even the Yankees would put 75 million down on this guy with no American track record.

    2. says: Ian

      Some pitchers seem to get injured very easily after high pitch counts/heavy inning work loads. Others seem to be able to throw forever without significant risk of injury. I think it is better to air on the side of caution and allow young pitchers to build up to heavy workloads. As for Darvish it is hard to say. Dice-K does not seem to have adjusted that well to MLB pitching demands. This maybe because he did not have to pitch every 5 days in Japan. Darvish may have the same difficulty. I for one would not want to see the Jays post $75million for him regardless of his talent level. I think their current plans for growing the rotation will suffice.

      1. As they say in Swingers, that’s the rub.

        Do the 140+ pitch outings scare off teams or does the middle of the road seasonal pitch count win out? I guess we’ll see when the quotes start flying next off-season when Yu is posted.

        According to japanese newspaper sources the Diamondbacks were willing to roll up $80 million in a combo fee+contract offer if Yu posted this off-season.

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