Yu Darvish: Japanese Phenom Arrives at Spring Training

Zak SchmollAnalyst IFebruary 21, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 23:  Relief pitcher Yu Darvish #11 of Japan throws a pitch against Korea during the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic on March 23, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Japan won 5-3 in 10 innings.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Yu Darvish reported to spring training a day early, according to a report issued by the Associated Press in the Washington Post. The article goes on to say that he also threw his first bullpen session of about 35 pitches in front of manager Ron Washington.

Washington said of Darvish, "He kept the ball down and hit his spots. He can sink it, he can run it. He’s definitely got a good feel for the baseball. He's a power pitcher with finesse stuff."

Of course, with such a favorable first report, one has to wonder what his future will look like. Will he burst onto the scene like Hideo Nomo and win Rookie of the Year, or will he fail to live up to the high expectations that will surely accompany his $107 million package?

Darvish has had more success in Japan than any other pitcher who has made the transition across the Pacific Ocean. While playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters over the past five years, he posted a 76-28 record with a 1.72 career ERA. He also has averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

However, he is more than just a power pitcher.

He has also demonstrated excellent control by only averaging 1.9 walks per nine innings over the past five years and posting a WHIP of 0.890 over the same period.

Playing in Major League Baseball will definitely be a greater challenge for the 25-year-old, but he seems to have the makings of a successful pitcher in the near future.

Obviously, today was only one bullpen session, but I would predict that we will all be even more impressed by him by the end of the season.

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