The Texas Rangers might have lost the 2011 World Series, but they won the rights to sign Yu Darvish, the 25 year old ace from Japan.
Last year, Darvish was 18-6, with a 1.44 ERA in 28 games for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He led the Japan Pacific League in K's (276) and shutouts (6), plus he had the lowest WHIP (0.828) among starting pitchers.
2009 Bowman & Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects
He's had five consecutive seasons with an sub 2.00 ERA... is a 5x all-star... and has won two Pacific League MVP awards, two ERA titles, two Golden Glove awards, and three strikeout titles.
In 2009, he pitched the final out of the World Baseball Classic to help Japan secure the gold. It was back then, when I first came across his name, but of course he was already a super star in Japan.
I remember reading about how he would likely be the next big name to come out of Japan, so I decided to go out and pick up one of his Japanese baseball cards. The card at the top of this post is my 2006 Calbee.
Calbee is major snack producer from Japan, who started including baseball cards with their snacks back in 1973. From what I can tell... they still attach single card packs to the back side of specially marked packages... however, I'm not 100% sure. Here's a blogger who busted a box of 2011 Calbee (Series 2): Japanese Baseball Cards
According to this blogger, Darvish's rookie card is from the 2005 BBM 1st Version set. However 2006 was the first year that Calbee produced a card for him.
It should be interesting to see if the Rangers can sign him to a contract and whether or not he'll be successful in the MLB. What do you think?
What sort of success do you think Yu Darvish will have in the MLB?
Hall of Fame, like Ichiro (sorry, no Japanese pitchers have had HOF careers)? 1x All-Star, like Nomo? Average Joe, like Matsuzaka? Epic Fail, like Kei Igawa?
Can't wait to read your thoughts. Here's MLB.Com's take on the guy:
According to them... he's not quite Stephen Strasburg... but better than Matt Moore.
Happy Tuesday everyone. Sayonara!