Yu Go, C.J. - The Good


=== C.J. Wilson ===

It is possible that Yu Darvish will pitch better than CJ Wilson has, and will join the Big Five as a Tier I starter in the AL.  But it's asking a whale of a lot.

C.J. Wilson just finished a 16-7, 2.94 season.  That's a 2+ ERA, in the Texas heat, in that stadium, after 223 innings were completed.  I would bet against Felix Hernandez accomplishing that.  Hey, I'd bet against Bob Gibson His Ownself accomplishing it.  A 2+ ERA, full season, in Texas?  Slap me silly.

And C.J.'s FIP was the #8 in the American League.  The guys ahead of him were The Big Five (Felix, C.C., Verlander, Jered, Haren) and two guys who won't be ahead of him next year.

C.J.'s FIP was #11 in the AL the season before that, and his actual ERA was lower than his FIP.  


It is verrrrrry tough, in Texas, in that ballpark, to run an actual ERA that is lower than your FIP and xFIP.  In C.J.'s press conference, he stated that it is nearly impossible to succeed there, that all fly balls to right-center field are home runs, so you have to pitch in such a way that nobody hits the ball in the air to the right side of second base.

C.J. Wilson was objectively as good as anybody in Tier II -- those pitchers being David Price, Michael Pineda, Jon Lester, Ricky Romero, Josh Beckett, etc. --  and as a completely separate issue, he had a special skill for pitching in Texas.  This park bonus made Wilson in effect a Tier I pitcher in the AL, the sixth member of that fellowship.


=== The Good (for Texas) ===

1.  It is possible that Yu Darvish will be, in practical terms, a better pitcher than C.J. Wilson has been for them, in the sense that it is possible that Yu Darvish will be the best pitcher in Major League Baseball.


2.  C.J. Wilson has thrown 204 and 223 innings the last two years -- plus the postseason, the last two years.  It is possible that Wilson is going to hit a wall.  (Of course, that is also possible of Darvish.)


3.  You have probably grokked that I don't buy any of the two factors above, but here's a sincere 'put for the Rangers' receivables column.

I expect Darvish to improve the Rangers' pitching in the playoffs.  El Duque, from Cuba, was for a while there (his first 40-50 innings or so, IIRC) the greatest postseason pitcher who ever lived.  I love international pitching superstars in the ML postseason.  Lots of angles, lots of different pitches, the hitters are amp'ed up and the trickery works.

C.J. Wilson was 1-5, 4.87 in the playoffs for Texas, with a lousy CTL ratio.  Wilson is not exactly as gifted as Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez, and as he faced the cream of the crop, his limitations were magnified.

It's like saying, hey, Doug Fister had as many WAR as David Price!  It doesn't exactly mean that Doogie is equal to Price.  Gravity is going to take effect at some point.






BTW Taro m'man, is Wilson an example of an inverted-W guy who has been real healthy?

Taro's picture

Timing issues + high elbow. TJ in the minors. I don't think that deal will turn out well for the Angels. Could have major shoulder or elbow surgery in the next few years.
As for Darvish.. He'll be an impact starter in the short-term, but he has some timing isues as well:
Darvish is a talent, but there could be elbow surgery in his future. Only reason I wasn't banging the drum to sign him is I think the odds are against him staying healthy long-term.



What is freaky about Darvish is his aura of invincibility.  
Dude has been playing NPB for five years, and his ERA has never cracked 2.  his lifetime WHIP is .89.  He never walks anyone, never allows more than one runner per inning, and never gives up home runs.  He is the pitcher that has never lost, never gets hurt, always pitches deep into ball games, and in short is completely invincible so far.
It will be interesting to see how Darvish adjusts when he meets with some real adversity, and is threatened with an ERA higher than 2.00.
What would Roy Halladay's line look like if he played in Japan?  Would it look any better?


An MLB Cy Young winner, if he pitched in Japan, would look just like Darvish has.
That's quite a pic of the end of the NPB season there :- )


Texas has always looked on with green envy at the very top shelf of starting pitchers.  It is more than a statistical need for Texas, it is a psychological status need.
Texas wants a 250 inning, high strikeout, no walk workhorse, and the Rangers has shown that they will pay any price to have one.
Three of your top prospects for three months of Cliff Lee?  No problem.  They just hoped he'd stay.  Then the Rangers offered Lee 6-7 years
and he spurned them, to go sign elsewhere for five.  
Nobody likes pitching in Dallas.  The air is too thin, the weather is too hot (A Dallas morning in July usually starts at 80 something degrees farenheit.  High 90s are reached by noon, and the temperature peaks at around 108 at approximately 4:30 p.m.  The concrete then retains the heat, so that it is nasty hot all night too), the park is too small, the wind blows too hard, and the air is too dry.  
Pitches don't have as much movement in Texas as they do elsewhere, and when the ball is hit, it is launched, and when it is launched, it is a homerun.
The end result is a park that skews pitching results, so much that a top of the line pitcher doesn't want to mess up his hall of fame chances by playing half of his games there.
After the Cliff Lee debacle, how much would the Rangers pay to have exclusive negotiating rights with a top shelf pitcher?  How much would they pay to sign him?  We'll find out.


I doubt that a pro poker player, ice water running in his veins, would endorse this CJ/Darvish flip ...
But you seem to have nailed this one amigo.  I can just see Nolan Ryan watching CJ go 1-5, 4.78 in the postseason and wanting a glamor ace he can be proud of.
Of course, Nolie could stand to check the W/L on his own baseball card, while he's talking about invincible aces :- )

Taro's picture

The bad news with Darvish is that his mechanics are generally excellent either than the timing flaw. His delivery relies on a lot of athletic ability so I wouldn't expect him to last into his 30s, but its possible he could last 4-6 strong years.
That said, Darvish will likely eventually stumble into elbow issues. Its a matter of when.
CJ Wilson is a much bigger injury risk. I like that swap for Texas.

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