Sunday, October 16, 2011
Two More Data Points to Consider Re: Yu Darvish
I promise this will be the last Yu Darvish related post for the next day or two.
Kyle wondered about Colby Lewis and any other American starters that went to Japan and then returned to MLB. The only other one I could think of was Darrell May. So here are some of their stats.
Lewis pitched for two seasons in Japan for Hiroshima in 2008 and 2009. He’s had two full seasons back in MLB since then.
For May I’m only showing his last three seasons in Japan and then what he did over the rest of his major league career.
Here are the ratios for the component stats pro-rated to the same innings.
Lewis hasn’t suffered much in the hit department, but you can see his FIP peripherals took a pretty big hit. His HR rate has been almost double, his walk rate has been more than double. He maintained a bit more of his K rate than the starters I looked at in the last post. Despite all that he’s still been a solidly above average starter for Texas, in a park that boosts offense. In May’s case we see a bigger spike in hits and a precipitous drop in Ks.
Let’s look at ratios for all the starters that I’ve covered over the last two posts.
The last row just shows the worst case for each component stat. So Hideki Irabu (RIP) saw the biggest increase in hits allowed, etc.,
Let’s run Darvish’s three-year weighted average against each pitcher as well as with each of the ‘worst’ components.
It’s entirely possible that Darvish will be exposed against the best competition in the world. Perhaps he’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of things in the Japanese game that he won’t be able to in MLB. He’s a risk, particularly given the likely investment in him.
However, I’d temper that by saying that as far as I can tell, no pitcher coming to MLB from Japan has put up the lines that Darvish has put up. The only pitcher who had a three-year-weighted average FIP within 0.22 of Darvish’s 1.88 was Irabu at 2.20. The next closest was Matsuzaka at 2.59. This just confirms to me that we shouldn’t just assume he’ll struggle because most of the pitchers who came over did. He’s been better than any of them.
Since this is the last Darvish post for the next day or two, I’m going to add this video.
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