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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Texas Rangers: Why money might not be the only reason Texas could let Yu Darvish walk after 2017 | SportsDay

It’s difficult to pay ace money when a guy is only pitching 160 innings a year. Even if he tops 200 this season, I’m sure the Rangers will be hesitant to shell out top dollar.

The biggest issue is durability. He’s averaged only 160 innings over the four seasons he’s pitched, and he missed an entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s going to turn 31 during the season, which is usually considered late in a pitcher’s prime to become more durable.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2017 at 10:08 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers, yu darvish

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: February 15, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5402431)
"Averaged only 160" is doing a lot of carrying there. In year 1, he threw over 190 innings, averaging a smidgen over 6.5 innings per start. In year 2, he made 32 starts and 209 IP, just over 6.5 per start. In year 3, he made his first 22 starts, 144 innings, just over 6.5 innings per start. Then he got hurt and needed Tommy John. He missed nearly 2 full years, possibly rushed back a bit early in 2016. From late July, he made 13 starts although the average was down to just over 6.

So he's averaged just 160 in 4 "seasons" because he missed 1/3 of season 3 due to injury and nearly 2/3 of season 4 due to the same injury. Maybe there's something in the fact it took him two years to recover from TJS but he hasn't been fragile and injury-prone. He got hurt once, it cost him 2 years. Outside of that injury, he's missed 3 starts (all in year 1) and averaged about 6.5 innings per start.

   2. Nasty Nate Posted: February 15, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5402445)
Despite the headline, all the reasons they might let him walk that are listed in the article are basically ... money.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: February 15, 2017 at 07:25 PM (#5402596)
We are also left with the question of what realistic options are there. Over the last 5 seasons, he has 15 bWAR. Given his FIP is below his ERA and his BABIP is around league average, I assume his fWAR is pretty similar. There are only 25 pitchers with 13+ WAR over the last 5 years (including Jose Fernandez RIP). Darvish is 17th on that list, just ahead of Strasburg, a bit more than a win behind Lester, 1.5 wins behind Zimmermann. Because of the injury, he's in a 3rd tier behind a cluster of 8 starters with 19 to 23 WAR. If he'd been fully healthy, he might have reached Hamels/Sale at 25-27 WAR ... unlikely to have reached Scherzer at 30 or Kershaw at 35.

Of the pitchers in that list, he does have the 3rd fewest innings (Fernandez, Roark) but is reasonably similar in WAR and IP to Arrieta, Teheran and Strasburg. That of course means that by WAA he shoots up a bit (to 14th). That is enough to separate him from guys like Teheran and Porcello and even Lester (about 2 WAA behind).

Strasburg is a pretty good comp as he's averaged 160 per over the last 5 but that's because of just 47 over the last 2 years rather than a huge missing chunk (the shutdown cost him a few). Strasburg got a 7/$175 backloaded mess of an extension and is 2 years younger than Darvish.

That said, the comps are far less impressive if we look at pitchers aged 25-29 for the 2000s. Still just 54 pitchers who've passed 13 WAR, Darvish is 38th and 30 of the 54 lay within a range of 13 to 18 WAR so these would be his rough comps. (Note, I noticed Sale and this is just for his age 25-27 so he doesn't count. There might be others.) Near him in both WAR and innings you've got Kerry Wood (a good, scary comp), Aaron Cook (really?), Fister, Peavy (another good, scary comp), Anibal Sanchez, Wainwright.

I refined that list to 13-18 WAR and <900 IP, we have 13 comps. Looking at those guys from age 30, it's not very promising. Wainwright leads with 15 through 34; Jarrod Washburn 12 (really? anyway 30-34); Peavy 10 (30-35 and probably not much more). Arrieta (3.4 WAR at age 30) is the only other potentially promising name on the list. Anibal Sanchez, Wood and Bedard seem pretty reasonable and un-pretty comps. The most promising aspect is that he does have the highest K/9 among these comps but still, even 10 WAR over the next 5 years might be an optimistic projection. I don't know if a 200 inning, 5 WAR age 30 would push him up into a more favorable set of comps but I certainly wouldn't recommend that Texas offer him an expensive extension right now.

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