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The Rangers won the rights to negotiate with Japanese star Yu Darvish with a record posting fee of $51.7 million. What should he expect from his new home ballpark?
The Texas Rangers have won the right to negotiate with Japanese star right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish of the Nippon Ham Fighters. Reports say the bid was a record $51.7 million.
If the Rangers sign him, he’ll be pitching the majority of his games in Rangers Ballpark. There were 228 home runs hit in Rangers home games and 152 in Rangers road games last season. The 46 percent home/road difference was the biggest in the majors.
There were 896 runs scored in Rangers home games compared to just 636 in Rangers road games last season, also the biggest home/road difference in baseball, making it the least friendly park for a pitcher in terms of runs last season.
Dan Szymborski and our friends at Insider take a look at some projections for Darvish here.
Darvish has posted five consecutive seasons of a sub-2.00 ERA in Japan. His best season was last year when he went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA and struck out 276 hitters in 232 innings pitched.
To give you an idea of just how good that was, his ERA was 106 percent better than his league average. Not six percent better, but 106 percent better.
Via Baseball Prospectus, over each of the past four seasons, his ERA was at least 106 percent better, his strikeout rate at least 30 percent better and his walk rate at least 20 percent better than the league average. It would be an impressive feat if he could repeat his 2011 performance in the majors next season.
The last major league pitcher with at least 15 wins, 250 strikeouts and an ERA under 1.50 in a single season was Bob Gibson in 1968. The last one before that was Walter Johnson back in 1912. Only five pitchers have had such a season in the Modern Era (since 1900) and all five are in the Hall of Fame.