DARVISH, YU  
 
Image of    Nickname:   N/A Position:   P
Home: Japan Team:   RANGERS
Height: 6' 5" Bats:   R
Weight: 215 Throws:   R
DOB: 8/16/1986 Agent: N/A
Birth City: Habikino, Osaka, Japan Draft: N/A
Uniform #: 11  
 
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2007 JAP Hokkaido     208   210           15 5   1.82
2008 JAP Nippon Ham $2,900.00   201 136 208 44 24 10 2 0 16 4   1.88
2009 JAP Nippon   23 182 118 167 45       0 15 5   1.73
2010 JAP Nippon   26 202 158 222 47         12 8   1.78
2011 JAP Nippon   28 232 156 276 36 28 10 6   18 6   1.44
2012 AL RANGERS $5,500.00 29 191.1 156 221 89 29 0 0 0 16 9 0.22 3.90
2013 AL RANGERS   32 209.2 145 277 80 32 0 0 0 13 9 0.194 2.83
2014 AL RANGERS   3 22 15 23 4 3 0 0 0 1 0 0.185 0.82
PERSONAL:
 

  • The son of Farsad, an Iranian father, and Ikuyo, a Japanese mother, Darvish was born and raised in Osaka. He has never lived outside his birth country, but he has traveled to Iran and the United States, where his parents met while studying at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    He remembers his father pushing him toward soccer as a child, but he found something enchanting about the baseball games he saw on television. When he got his first Little League hit, he was hooked.

  • Yu's grandfather was a travel agent in Iran nad sent his son, Farsad to the United States in 1977 to attend high school in Massachusetts.

  • His lanky 6-foot-5-inch build and distinctive facial features would be enough to make him stand out anywhere, but in a homogenous land, a family name that sounded like none other gave him unwanted attention growing up.

    “Kids used to say stuff all the time about how I was different,” Darvish said in Japanese, playing down the suggestion that wearing the national team uniform gave him extra satisfaction in light of such teasing. “It hasn’t been an issue since I was little.”

  •  
  • The Nippon Ham Fighters selected Darvish in the first round of the 2004 draft as a high schooler. By then, he was known across the country for having pitched a no-hitter in the spring version of a prestigious national high school baseball tournament that March. He earned a bad-boy image later for being suspended from high school for smoking a cigarette, illegal for minors here, and posing nude for a magazine in 2007. His devilish laughter at the mention of those incidents is a hint that rebelliousness still lurks within him.

    But lost in the commotion over his defiance off the field and his vast natural athleticism on it is an astounding aptitude for pitching mechanics that those who know him describe with the highest admiration.

  • Yu turned pro in 2005 at age 18. His pro career got off to a rocky start when he was caught smoking in a pachinko parlor on an off day during his first spring training, despite not being old enough to legally smoke or gamble at the time.

  • After going 5-5 with a 3.53 ERA in his rookie season of 2005 with the Nippon Ham Fighters, Darvish had a breakout year in 2006, going 12-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 115 strikeouts. (Neither season is posted in his STATS, above.)

  • In 2006, Darvish earned the Japan Series MVP award in his first full season of pro ball—when he was just 19 years old. Yu won the clincher as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters captured their first championship in 45 years.

    In 2007, Yu won the Sawamura Award as Japan's top Major League pitcher.

  •  
  • Darvish has excellent makeup.
  • On 9 August 2007, Darvish acknowledged reports of a relationship with the Japanese actress, Saeko, in a post-game interview. He also announced that they were planning to get married, and that Saeko was pregnant with their first child. The couple married in November 2007, in what Japanese tabloids reported was a shotgun wedding.

    They have two sons, but divorced in 2012. Coincidentally, Darvish's divorce was finalized on the same day that he officially signed with the Texas Rangers.

  • In August 2008, Yu pitched for Team Japan in the Beijing Olympics.

    Then, he was a star for Japan's team in the World Baseball Classic. During the WBC there were rumors Darvish would post, making himself available to sign with a MLB team. But the posting price was rumored to be $10 million, which might be a little tough to come up with in economy-wracked clubs.

  • The Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Darvish as the #1 prospect in the Rangers organization in the spring of 2012.

  • While in 2012 spring training, Yu would bounce around from guy to guy, getting to know each teammate. He even learned some Spanish.

  • During seven seasons in Japan, Darvish achieved rock-star status. He has been in the spotlight so long that he doesn't appear to be the least bit bothered by it in the United States. His poise is apparent right away.

  •  May 14, 2013: Darvish announced that he made a $25,000 donation to help support City of Dallas RBI, which allows nearly 2,000 youngsters to participate in organized youth baseball programs.

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  • Darvish doesn't believe in the concept of the ace pitcher.

    A team's best starting pitcher has the same task as the weakest link of the rotation - to allow fewer runs than the opposing pitcher while working deep into a game - and no one pitcher should be placed on a pedestal above the other four.

    "All starting pitchers have the same goal, and it's a unit," Darvish said  "I don't know what the definition of ace is. I think all the starting pitchers have to support each other."


  • TRANSACTIONS

    • After the 2011 season, the Nippon Ham Fighters posted Darvish. And on December 19, 2011, it was announced that the Texas Rangers had posted the winning bid of $51,703,411.

  • January 18, 2012: Darvish signed with the Rangers for a six-year, $56 million contract.
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    PITCHING:

    • Darvish has both a 90-94 mph 2-seam sinking FASTBALL and a 92-98 mph 4-seamer. He can cut his fastball and also has a devastating sinking SLIDER, excellent late rotation on his CURVEBALL, a 90-91 mph SPLITTER (forkball) and a CHANGEUP.

      His heater plays up because it has quality life and he has excellent command
      . And he can also cut it. He actually has two versions of his curve: a harder version that gets swings-and-misses, and a slower version to get ahead in the count. He keeps hitters guessing.

    • Yu is able to locate his pitches extremely well. He has excellent command.  You would have a hard time finding any pitcher with as exceptional control of every pitch in his repertoire as Darvish has.

    • His tentacle-like limbs gave way to an exaggerated, sweeping pitching motion when he first turned pro as he tried to wind his long arms and legs through the twists of his delivery. His motion, while inefficient from a physics standpoint, produced impressive baseball results: records of 5-5 with a 3.53 earned run average and 12-5 with a 2.89 E.R.A. in his first two seasons.

      Darvish stands tall in his delivery and possesses good athleticism that allows him to consistently repeat his delivery and command his pitches.

      "I'm a big guy, right?” he said, extending his arms
      . “But I began to realize that by actually using my body like a big guy, I couldn’t control my pitches the way I wanted to. I could throw the ball hard, but at this level if you’re not accurate, it’s easy for batters to light you up with home runs. That’s when I started concentrating on making my movements more compact. It just seemed to me that smaller movements would produce the kind of pitching I desired.” (Brad Lefton-NY Times-2/19/09)

    • Darvish has pitches that change every season. He has the ability to grasp how his body's movements affect his pitching performance. He can tweak his mechanics during a game without even watching video.

    • He could actually end up being one of the best pitchers in the history of the game of baseball. --- He really could be.

    • "He's got so many pitches that you can pick any one you want to throw at any time," A.J.Pierzynski said early in 2013 season. "It's not like he has two pitches, this one or that one. I mean, you might want a 94-mile-an-hour split-finger instead of a 97-mile-an-hour fastball or a 60-mile-an-hour curveball. That's when it's difficult to get on the same page because he's got so many weapons."

    • April 3, 2013: Darvish retired the first 26 batters he faced before coming up one out short of a perfect game.

    • July 30, 2013: For the fourth time in 2013, Darvish had a 14-strikeout game, passing Nolan Ryan for the most times accomplishing the feat in a season in Texas Rangers history. Darvish recorded double-digit punchouts for the 16th time in his career, and fell two short of tying the franchise record for most strikeouts in a game, twice done by Ryan. Darvish is the first pitcher with four 14-K games in a season since Randy Johnson in 2004.

      For the 2013 season, Yu finished second in the AL Cy Young voting to Max Scherzer of the Tigers
      .

      Also in 2013: Darvish lead the major leagues in strikeouts at  277.  The most since Randy Johnson in 2004.

    • April 6, 2014: Darvish set a Major League record by striking out the first two batters he faced .The two strikeouts gave Darvish 500 for his career in 401 2/3 innings. The Rangers' right-hander becomes the fastest pitcher as a starter to ever reach 500 strikeouts as far as number of innings it took to get there. Kerry Wood held the old record by doing it in 404 2/3 innings. Mark Prior did it in 421 2/3 innings and Stephen Strasburg did so in 426 1/3 innings.


    • As of the start of the 2014 season, Darvish had a 29-18 career record, a 3.34 ERA having allowed 40 home runs and 301 hits in 401 innings.

     
     
    CAREER INJURY REPORT:

    • 2006: Darvish was sidelined with some shoulder problems.
    • August 2009: Yu was on the shelf with shoulder fatigue.

    • July 7-22, 2013: The Rangers put Darvish on the D.L. with a mild strain in his right upper back. Texas assistant general manager Thad Levine said putting Darvish on the DL during the All-Star break will allow Darvish to sit for two weeks and skip just one start while resting the bothersome trapezius muscle.

  • October 7, 2013: Rangers G.M. Jon Daniels admitted Darvish was  dealing with nerve irritation in his lower back over the final month of the season, which affected his strength and endurance. Darvish had an injection Wednesday to alleviate the problem, but did not want one in September, because it would have forced him to miss a start.

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  • February 16, 2014: Davish told an assembled group of Japanese media that he felt some hip discomfort earlier this offseason, but after altering his weight-lifting program he arrived in Arizona for spring training feeling healthy.

  • Darvish told the Japanese reporters  that his trainer recommended he quit lifting heavy weights and that the hip felt better starting in mid-January.

    But late in March, 2014, back specialist Drew Dossett cleared Yu to pitch, noting he had no structural damage in his neck
    . And Darvish was activated from the D.L. on April 6, 2014.

     
     
     
    Last Updated 4/17/2014. All contents © 2000 by Player Profiles. All rights reserved.