How Much Should You Pay For Yu Darvish?
- By: Derek VanRiper
- On: 1/19/2012 11:40:00 AM
- View Comments : 30
Now that he's officially a Ranger, where do you draft him? Let's start with what other people have done to this point. Expert ADP data at Mock Draft Central has him coming off the board at 188.2, or 186th overall with a high pick of 67th overall. As it stands now, that ADP ranks him 45th among starting pitchers, but the truth is, he'll be among the players vaulting up the ADP charts now that it's a certainty he's pitching in North America this season.
While beginning the research process for this entry, I stumbled into an excellent post from Chris St. John looking at Japenese pitchers who started their careers overseas (i.e. no Colby Lewis, Ryan Vogelsong types) and made the transition to the MLB. You can check out the post here and follow Chris on Twitter @Stealofhome.
For plenty of reasons, Darvish's arrival has fantasy owners thinking that he's going to be very similar to Daisuke Matsuzaka as a big league pitcher. The consensus among industry types seems to be that Darvish will provide plenty of strikeouts, but pitching in Texas against MLB hitters will be radically different than the pitcher-friendly environments of Japan. Hardly rocket science, but probably a safe simple evaluation of where he's headed.
RotoWire's 2012 projection for Darvish: 201 IP, 13-8, 169 H, 191:62 K:BB, 3.22 ERA, 1.149 WHIP.
His rate stats would understandably be among the worst of his career, including a 0.81 HR/9IP, 2.78 BB/9IP and 8.55 K/9IP.
Let's just say the projection comes out perfect. Those are excellent numbers, and we can use the Play Index tool at Baseball Reference to generate the list of pitchers with that combination of rate stats in a season since 2007. Only 13 have done it and two, CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, have it done twice.
Elite company, and that is with built-in regression expectations.
Darvish will undoubtedly become an ADP riser in the next two-plus months. As the hype builds up and more people come to grips with the amount of money an intelligent Texas organization threw at him, it would hardly be surprising to see him reliably come off the board within the first 100 or so picks of a standard mixed league.
Jeff Erickson and I went through a half dozen or so second-tier pitchers today while trying to find a better expected cost for Darvish on draft day during the opening segment of RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on Thursday.
Beginning just outside the top-15 starting pitchers on the aforementioned Expert ADP list, we had the following for comparisons.
19. Tommy Hanson, ATL (91.3) -- Way too much risk with rotator cuff trouble, edge: Darvish.
20. Mat Latos, CIN (95.7) -- Similar underlying numbers and concerns about home park. edge: Push. 21. Madison Bumgarner, SF (98.4) -- Undervalued, edge: Bumgarner.
22. Michael Pineda, NYY (103.0) -- Likely to become overvalued, even at this price: edge: Darvish
23. C.J. Wilson, LAA (107.4) -- Skipped over him in conversation, I'd rather have Darvish but it's close.
24. Dan Hudson, ARI (108.0) -- Seeing a leap forward from Hudson this year, slight edge: Hudson (Jeff), Darvish (DVR)
25. Ricky Romero, TOR (112.3) -- Like Wilson, wasn't included in the conversation on air, my edge: Darvish.
26. Josh Johnson, MIA (119.7) -- Speaking of risk, like Johnson here better than Hanson, but edge: Darvish.
Essentially, Jeff and I came to the conclusion that Darvish should be treated like a top-20 pitcher on draft day, but as those numbers from the Play Index suggest, his 2012 projection hints at the possibility that we may be talking about him as a top-10 or even top-five option among starting pitchers by this time next year.
Follow me on Twitter @DerekVanRiper.