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Scouts Take on The Darvish Deal

I asked some scouts about Texas’ return for Yu.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Rakes Calhoun
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

It’s been a minute since I’ve written and the muscles have atrophied to skinny-minny status, so lets just get to it.

Re. Brendon Davis:

“He’s really interesting. Big tools.”

“Role 6 upside. I like him a lot.”

“Huge leg kick and really big load. He sells out for FB.”

“Definitely has an everyday player ceiling.”

“Big tools”

“30 runner at best. No quick twitch.”

“Definitely not an up the middle guy.”

“Corner defender. Maybe 3B.”

“Great kid. No makeup issues at all.”

“Decent arm. Not elite. Probably a 55”

“Skinny, but has strength. Power over hit, for sure.”

“Built a little like Brinson”

Re. AJ Alexy:

“FB has ticked up this year. I’ve seen him T 95.”

“There’s some projection there.”

“Alexy is a projection guy.”

“FB and command potential but offspeed stuff isn’t great.”

“I saw him once and I didn’t really like him.”

“Maybe a reliever”

“Using CB well in lower levels and getting Ks, but it’s loopy and slow.”

“Feel for a CH. CB is 68-75.”

“He was 88-92 for me.”

Re. Willie Calhoun:

“Glove is terrible, arm is terrible, but he can really, really hit.”

“20 runner”

“Bad athlete, who can really hit.”

“Willie has raw and can swing it, but probably a 1B/DH.”

“Love that guys aggressiveness at the plate.”

“Solid makeup with baseball smarts and aggressiveness.”

“Legit ‘Fuck you’ attitude at the plate.”

“Solid return for a rental.”

“Unbelievable bat speed and strength.”

“...swagger for days.”

“He knows he can hit.”

Overall, the return for Darvish seemed to underwhelm the industry. I received responses to the deal ranging from “JD blinked” to “It’s not a great return.” and “Dodgers called JD’s bluff.” But some were more deflective. “The market just wasn’t there.” “The Dodgers are 40G over 500 and the Astros are 17 games up. Nobody really needs Darvish.”

My two cents: I’m underwhelmed too, but I tend to believe this is where the market was. Plain and simple. It isn’t like last year’s market, and it might not be like next year’s market, but this is the market that existed for Darvish. I’ve tracked the Dodgers system a lil’ bit and even wandered over to Glendale the last 2 springs. There’s dudes on that farm I love, but they apparently weren’t comin’ here. Buehler and Verdugo were out pretty early, but I held out hope for guys I liked. DJ Peters, Mitch White, Dennis Santana, and backstops Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz. I’m a little surprised, given his defensive profile, Texas bit on Willie Calhoun, but any Twitter follower of mine can tell you he’s been one of my favorite prospects in all of baseball. He’s got tons of swagger and moxie as evidenced by some of the quotes above. There’s a couple quick stories about him which I really hope are true. One comes from a pre-draft workout when a scout asked him what position he played and Willie reportedly replied, “I play 3-hole.” Another comes from a BP session just after being drafted when he supposedly looked at GM Andrew Friedman and assorted members of the front office, and just before entering the cage, told them to “get ready for the laser show.” I absolutely love that and personally having seen him play about 20 times, I can attest to his mojo. He shellacked a 3-0 fastball from Connor Sadzeck into Frisco’s Lazy River last year and recently posted a video of him hitting a home run, in a game, while impersonating Babe Ruth’s swing. If Willie Calhoun becomes a productive everyday player for Texas (a VERY realistic possibility), perhaps regardless of whatever happens with Yu this offseason, we’re gonna look at this trade through a very different colored lens.

Yu Darvish probably has the best pure stuff of any pitcher to ever wear a Rangers uniform. I once had the pleasure of standing behind the backstop in Surprise and observing his pitches from that viewpoint. It’s a barometer I’ll never forget and one didn’t have to watch the swings he generated from the best hitters on the planet to know: this guy is the truth. I’ve zero idea if he re-signs here and frankly, it doesn’t matter today. I’m thankful for his time here and for the pitches he threw while wearing my favorite team’s uniform. I’m not really interested in internet debates about his value for Texas, or squabbles over arbitrary titles like “ace”. I watch the games. I watch him pitch. And he’s a beast. And I’m thankful he wore a Rangers uniform.

I’m sure it wasn’t a fun day in the Rangers front offices. I imagine they’re satisfied with their return, but make no mistake- this sucks. They wish they were in contention and they wish the thought of trading Yu was off the table given the playoff standings. But the reality is, this is where they are. And this is where we are as a fanbase. I got a couple new dudes on the farm and Texas hedged losing Yu for nothing in December. It’s a roller coaster and we all bought tickets. Gonna be ups. Gonna be downs. And we’re gonna go real, real fast at times. And it’s gonna be a whole lot of fun regardless. Especially for those of us who don’t own the coaster. Being a fan is the best, except when it’s the worst. Or the hardest. But truthfully, it’s still the best.

As Always, Enjoy Baseball!

Love Ya!