Since the Texas Rangers won the rights to negotiate and eventually sign Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, the fan base has had very high expectations for him. He has not disappointed. Last year he was expected to improve on an already impressive rookie season. He was better in almost every pitching stat possible. The only ones he didn’t improve on were home runs allowed and wins.
Darvish led the AL in batting average against and strikeouts. He was second in AL Cy Young voting and might have won had it not been for Max Sherzer’s incredible season. His 277 strikeouts were only 25 away for most in Texas Rangers history behind the legend Nolan Ryan, who had 301 in 1989. Nolan also pitched 239.1 innings that season compared to Yu’s 209.2 last year. If he can keep up with this pattern he should be a serious Cy Young candidate for many years.
Note: The Texas Rangers have never had a Cy Young winner.
It’s clear that if this trend continues, Yu Darvish will own most, if not all, of the Rangers major pitching stats. There were several games last year that Darvish only gave up 1 or 2 runs but got no support from a very streaky lineup. The 2014 lineup wont let that happen. The middle of the lineup, with Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, and Alex Rios looks to put up the same type of numbers as the two World Series lineups did.
The last Rangers MVP was a left-handed hitter who had a lot of pull power and gave out many souvenirs to fans in the home run porch. Prince has to be excited to see the home run porch for at least 81 games a year. His raw power gives him the opportunity to challenge for the league lead in home runs for years to come.
His last 3 seasons he protected the league MVP all 3 years. Once with Ryan Braun in Milwaukee and the last 2 years with Miguel Cabrera in Detroit. In 2012 Cabrera won baseballs triple crown. It was the first in baseball since 1967 and he was only 10th player to do so in baseball history.
Well this year, during Fielder’s introductory press conference, Ron Washington expressed his desire to have the roles reversed and someone protect Fielder. That alone should give him an ample amount of opportunities to abuse the baseball and drive in runs. His past years of unselfishness and team first mentality might reward him with his own MVP award. This year the Rangers have a chance of producing a Cy Young winner and MVP. The Last time one team had both was the Minnesota Twins in 2006. The Texas Rangers record book looks to surely be re-written this year.