Normally I think Japanese pitchers are overrated, but this guy is being labeled the best Japanese pitcher of all time. Darvish is 6 years away from free agency in Japan, but most feel he can be bought. Probably to the tune of 100 million just for the rights to have him. I hear the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs could be players. He's 6' 5" 190 lb righthander that is 22 years old.
Here is some stuff said about Darvish last year -
"Two international scouts described him as having a variety of above-average pitches. He works in the low 90s with his fastball and can reach back for 95-96 mph on occasion. He can cut his fastball, and he also throws a slider, curveball, splitter and a changeup. His ability to locate his pitches makes them play up, and he could be a frontline starter in the big leagues.
"He has plus stuff, and plus command and control to go with plus makeup," one scout said. "If I had a big game, I would be comfortable with him on the mound. He's a No. 1 starter for me. Absolutely filthy last year, and he played most of the year at 20. We'll see what happens as the innings pile on his arm, but he would be 1-1 in the draft . . .
"We're not talking a 'blow them away with a fastball and knee-wobbling stuff' kind of guy. We're talking a kid with a projectable body who knows how to pitch and is still developing physically—and is really good right now. He still might end up with jaw-dropping stuff. He's still very young."
Royals manager Trey Hillman spent the last five years as the skipper of the Ham Fighters, which included the first three seasons of Darvish's Japanese big league career. Alan Eskew, BA's Royals correspondent, asked Hillman about Darvish, and got this glowing endorsement:
"In my opinion, he's one of the best in the world at 21. He throws a fastball, curveball, slider, change, a split. He's the full package. He's got an array of every pitch you'd want to see with the exception of a knuckleball. He throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, movement that is natural and really unfair. He has velocity, 92-95, to go with it. He's a tremendous competitor, a great worker, a great teammate, handles fame very well. He doesn't like the spotlight but will endure it long enough to do what he needs to do."
Eskew asked Hillman to stack up Darvish against Matsuzaka, and Hillman opted for his former ace. Here's how the two pitchers performed at ages 18-20 in the Japanese majors:
Darvish Vs. Matsuzaka, Ages 18-20
W L ERA IP H HR BB SO
Darvish 32 15 2.53 452 348 28 161 377
Matsuzaka 45 27 3.40 588 440 53 299 469
Matsuzaka ranked No. 1 on our 2007 Top 100. He had a longer track record of success than Darvish, though the youngster's résumé is impressive nonetheless. In his first full season, 2006, Darvish earned the Japan Series MVP award and won the clincher as the Fighters captured their first championship in 45 years. Last season, he won the Sawamura Award as Japan's top major league pitcher after going 15-5, 1.82 and leading both leagues with 210 strikeouts in 208 innings.
Had Darvish signed with a major league club last offseason, I would have ranked him as the third-best prospect in baseball, behind Reds outfielder Jay Bruce and Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. I'd give him the nod as the best young player not under control to a U.S. team, ahead of Cuban infielder Yulieski Gourriel. "
Is he better than Strasburg? Hell I don't know, but to me the big question is WHEN, if at all, will Darvish sign with an MLB team?