Rangers hurler Yu Darvish wowed fans during his first big league season. The much heralded starter came over from Japan, and immediately showed the kind of potential he had. He showed that he has the ability to be a dominant starter and an ace on a pitching staff.
So, what is the actual definition of an "ace"?
- An ace is a workhorse, someone who logs innings, keeps his team in games more often than not, and saves a bullpen from being overworked.
- An ace wins games, and when he takes the mound everyone believes the team is going to win that day.
- An ace is a stopper. He halts losing streaks in their tracks, and get his team back in the win column.
- An ace needs to be dominant, and someone who battles even when they don't have their best stuff.
So does Yu Darvish have the capability of being a dominant starter in the Major Leagues?
Judging by what the big right-hander did in his first season, I would have to say we just saw the tip of the iceberg.
The Japan native went seven innings or more in six consecutive starts from August 17th to September 20th. During that span, he struck out eight or more batters in five of the six starts, including two 10-strikeout performances in back-to-back games. That should pretty much answer the question as to whether or not he has the ability.
Here is what Hall of Famer Derek Jeter had to say after facing Darvish last season:
"He has a lot of different pitches. We really didn't know what to expect," Jeter said. "He had the fastball, two-seamer, cutter, four-seamer, curveball, slider, change-up—he's got pretty much everything."
Darvish still has some things to work on as he struggled a bit with his command, walking four or more batters in 11 outings. He also hit 10 batters and threw eight wild pitches.
Two hundred twenty-one strikeouts as a rookie is extremely impressive, and if that is just the beginning, then Rangers fans really have a lot to get excited about. Darvish showed that he is a power-pitcher and his extensive repertoire of pitches keeps hitters off balance the entire at-bat.
The 6'5" right-hander showed flashes of dominance, mixed with some struggles in 2012. He showed he has the capability to lead a pitching staff, and be the go-to pitcher in a rotation. He still has a lot of things to work on, but if he can pitch that well despite his struggles, Rangers fans will have a lot to look forward to as he progresses as a pitcher.