Commentary

Buyer's guide: starting pitchers

Darvish heads the class -- that is, if he actually comes to the U.S.

Originally Published: November 10, 2011
By Keith Law | ESPN Insider
Yu DarvishGary A. Vasquez/US PresswireJapanese right-hander Yu Darvish could be the best free-agent starting pitcher available.

Keith Law has already ranked his top 50 free agents, but now he takes you on a more detailed, position-by-position look through the available players. Today, it's starting pitchers.

Players in demand

1. Yu Darvish, RHP: Darvish hasn't been posted yet, and there's still a chance he won't be, although most people in the industry I've asked seem to think that the Nippon Ham Fighters will post him this offseason to try to cash in on his extremely high value at the moment. Darvish will sit in the low 90s with a host of off-speed pitches, led by a hard slider and a shuuto, which looks like a two-seamer in the low 90s or upper 80s. He's handled high workloads in Japan without injury or loss of velocity, and is unusually tall for a pitcher from Nippon Professional Baseball at 6-foot-5, with a prototypical starting pitcher's frame. If there's an ace in this market, Darvish is it.