Darvish most hyped pitcher since Dice-K, Strasburg, Cliff Lee

By Cody McCarty

It’s time to chart over the next 159 games, how Yu Darvish will compare to the most hyped pitchers in recent memory. Major League Baseball and Texas Ranger fans are no stranger to recent pitchers being claimed as the next deliver of a franchise. How will Yu do?

In 2007, Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka was promoted as having pitches that have never been heard of in America. 2010 brought a hard throwing, 21-year-old named Strasburg. He reached 97 consistently and made batters look foolish with his slider. Later that year, people in Arlington said good-bye to the best hitting prospect since Mark Teixeira in favor to pick-up Cliff Lee: a man that didn’t understand the meaning of “walk”.

Until the season is over, I will be graphing each start of Darvish’s and comparing it to each of the aforementioned players, at the PEAK of their hype, with more details to come. The measurement of each game pitched will be calculated in a stat called “Game Score”. Game Score is an equation created by Bill James to determine how well a pitcher competed that game. The equation goes as follows:

  • Start with 50 points.
  • Add 1 point for each out recorded, so 3 points for every complete inning pitched.
  • Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th.
  • Add 1 point for each strikeout.
  • Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.
  • Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed.
  • Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed.
  • Subtract 1 point for each walk.
  • (TL;DR: outs get you points, not outs takes away points)

I have no idea how he came to this conclusion, but it works (also, thanks to all the game score calculators for making me want to do this). The highest score possible? 114, achieved by striking out every batter for nine innings. Highest accomplished score in 9-innings? 105, Kerry Wood’s 20-strike-out performance in 1998 in which he allowed one hit. Through this equation, it’s easy to see that some no-hitters (high walk totals, low strike outs) aren’t well received compared to high strike out performances with few runners.

I chose these three pitchers for a distinct reason. Dice-K, like Darvish, was an extremely promoted Japanese player with success internationally and in Japan. Many people get furious over comparisons to the two, time will tell. Strasburg is on here because I can’t remember a pitcher being so depended on to become an ace over the next three years. In comparison to how most rookies are promoted, they both received a minimal amount of time to work on their game before being called into the rotation. Lastly, Cliff Lee I chose for obvious home town reasons. I was at Lee’s first game against Baltimore. I watched every post-season game. I heard on the radio when our management decided that we were contenders and told Justin Smoak to pack an umbrella. The same message was sent when we invested $111,000,000 into the Japanese economy (I know it’s not all salary cap space, but that money could have went to making beer cheaper or some other type of humanitarian aid).

I don’t think I’m the kind of guy to make a huge, specific baseball prediction like a win-loss record or stats. No, I have enough knowledge of the game to know better. Predictions just boost your ego, or make a wise man with cool facial hair become exposed. I want no part of either. I look forward to busting out calculators and looking at just the facts ma’am.

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