Commentary

Putting Yu on the Verlander scale

Ten MLB evaluators rate Darvish relative to elite right-handers, including the AL MVP

Updated: December 21, 2011, 3:32 PM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
Verlander, Darvish & GreinkeUS PresswireDarvish stacks up fairly well against the likes of Verlander and Greinke in the eyes of evaluators.

We now know that the Texas Rangers have won the exclusive rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish, generally considered the best player from Nippon Professional Baseball to ever hit the posting system. Combining his expected contract with the $51.7 million posting bid, the total price for Darvish will exceed nine figures. But will he be worth it?

To find out, I polled 10 scouts and big league executives, many with international experience and in-person looks at Darvish. Instead of pure comparisons to others pitchers, I asked the insiders to place Darvish on a scale, picking him against a series of five right-handers, varying from good to great. The question was this: "Based on talent alone, would you take Darvish ahead of this pitcher?"

The hurlers in question are Ricky Nolasco, Ian Kennedy, Matt Garza, Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander. Opinions varied wildly, but were overall quite positive. Let's take a look.



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Ricky Nolasco, Miami Marlins

Scouting report: A frustrating talent. The stuff is there, the command is there, the peripherals often point to a breakout, but it just never happens.

While those polled were universal in favoring Darvish over a prototypical No. 4 starter with occasional glimpses of being a No. 3, some admitted that it was a question that was at least worth some thought. "It's actually close," said an American League scout. "I mean, look at Nolasco's numbers. Are we all really so sure that Darvish can do that?"

The unknown also played a significant role in the decision-making process for many. "I just think the change of scenery is so huge," explained a National League international scout. "It's a gamble. If I was Texas, I would have re-signed C.J. Wilson over Darvish. Everyone is different, and it's hard to know how players will react to being in a new environment."

The vote: Darvish, 10-0