Darvish: Yu Gotta Have Endurance

The possibility of Toronto winning the Yu Darvish posting fee sweepstakes is a great christmas present. Playoff aspirations aside, the acquisition will at minimum stabilize a shaky Toronto rotation.

The Jays were only able to trot out two pitchers (Romero + Morrow) for at least 150 IP last season. The addition of Darvish would give the Jays three strong inning eaters and at minimum one of the stronger 1-2-3 rotations in baseball. Throw in a (hopefully) tiny regression from Alvarez’s 2011 stats , a bounce back/breakout season from a Cecil type and the Jays are sitting pretty.

That’s if Yu’s arm doesn’t fall off…

Just kidding.

I’ve written a few times on Darvish’s overall pitch count and while I do think it’s relevant, I’m guilty of glossing over his in-game endurance.

This realization guided me over to Yu’s in-game velocity reports via npbtracker.com. In a very simple experiment, I’ve gathered Yu’s game high velocity from 2011 starts with 130+ pitches. Here are the results:

Date Pitches High Veloctiy At Pitch #
03-May 136 94.38 111
10-May 136 96.85 22
24-Jun 131 95.63 129
30-Jun 130 96.25 120
30-Jul 145 96.25 111
23-Sep 130 95 78, 124
11-Oct 130 96.88 10, 23, 121

Very impressive. In all but one start, Yu threw his fastest pitch (or at least matched it) at pitch #111 and onwards.

I haven’t been able to track down any legitimate studies that equates maintained velocity with studliness but I’m willing to take the short leap in logic.

If Darvish can give the Jays 200+ IP of 5+ WAR baseball, they may move from playoff darkhorse to wildcard contender.

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