If you've been following the MLB hot stove at all, you know who Yu Darvish is. ESPN Insider's Keith Law even ranked him No. 3 on his list of the top free agents. The big question is whether his team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, will post the 25-year-old right-hander, thereby make him available to big league clubs.
If this was Darvish's last season in Japan, he went out with a bang, finishing 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in 232 innings. Darvish's career numbers are equally jaw-dropping. In seven seasons he's 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 1,250 strikeouts in 159 starts.
"He has tremendous command with his secondary pitches and this year he was much more aggressive with the fastball, and I like that," said a scout for an American League team.
There are a few notable difference between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball, but the biggest one is probably this: In MLB, starting pitchers typically throw on four days' rest. In Japan, it's six days' rest.
If you've ever wondered why so many high-profile Japanese imports have failed in the U.S., that's a good place to start.