Yu Darvish, Dice-K & Injury Concerns

darvish-2011.jpg

After the recent news regarding Dice-K’s Arm Injury (ie he’s likely out for the season) I figured now is a great time to catch back-up with Yu Darvish’s pitch count.

So Dice-K is currently headed back to Japan to rest up and look into some medical options. This is his 5th trip to the DL in two years, and by all accounts his arm & shoulder are a mess.

Big in Japan

Yu Darvish is clearly the next big thing. He’s in line for a combined $100 million contract + posting fee. You can read all about him here (Yu Darvish, Best Pitcher in Japan?)

Last season I kept track of his pitch count. The final tally ended up being an average of around 129 pitches per start.

However in Japan starts are usually spaced out to six days rest (vs four in the MLB) and the end of season total number of pitches (3234) was about the same as Ricky Romero’s 2010 total.

Leading us into the 2011 totals:

Date Pitches IP K BB
25-May 121 9 11 1
18-May 127 8 5 0
10-May 136 9 15 1
03-May 136 9 7 3
26-Apr 123 8 10 1
19-Apr 119 8 8 2
12-Apr 119 7 9 2
Total 881 58 65 10
Avg Per Start 125.86 8.29
K+BB avg/9 10.09 1.55

 

As shown above, Yu is averaging 125 pitches per outing. His command has been very good, walking only 1.55 per 9. Last season around this time he clocked in at roughly 128 pitches per start.

Touchy Subject

I’m not looking to throw out the racism card here but, realistically I think it exists. From a race & work-rate standpoint, are MLB teams going to take into account Dice-K’s arm issues when setting a price point for Yu Darvish?

yu-darvish-gq.jpg

Or is Yu his own man, with his own mechanics & conditioning, that should be judged upon his own merits?

For what it’s worth, here’s my take

Personally, the pitch count is a slight concern. The historical rigours of Japanese off-season and side sessions are yet another hazard (essentially heavy work at all times. Perception is inactivity is laziness). But if I’m an MLB team with a shot at a playoff spot, I’d roll the dice (har har) at $100 million to bring aboard this potential ace. The upside is simply too high to pass up.

Your Turn: Pay the Price, Avoid due to fill-in-the-blank or No Worries? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Notes: Yu Darvish images via Google Images. Pitch Count data via Box Scores at the awesome YakuBaka

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8 replies on “Yu Darvish, Dice-K & Injury Concerns”
  1. As well, I don’t think Darvish will be compared to Matsuzaka because they both have Japanese blood, moreso the fact that they both played in the NPB and have the same pitch counts/days of rest between starts. Realistically it could be Colby Lewis and he’d get the same comparison.

    1. True but Lewis hasn’t been raised in the system, done 5+ years of off-season, in season routines, etc.

      I don’t know if it’s fair (or if any scouts will admit to it) but I have to think Dice’K & Darvish will get compared to some extent due to their nationality.

  2. says: Scott Hall

    Has any Japanese pitcher ever succeeded in America long term? I cant remember any, and most end up massive busts.
    Then again, there is always 1 exception to the rule waiting to happen (see Bautista)

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