Yu Darvish Viewing Guide

» 29 December 2008 » In npb, pitching »

I was asked about Yu Darvish in an interview I did recently, and I thought I may have undersold him a bit, so I decided to take a closer look at him, albeit via grainy YouTube video. You won’t see me embed YouTube content on my site very often (don’t like black boxes when it disappears), but for Darvish I’ll make an exception. This is a highlight reel from a playoff game Darvish pitched against the Orix Buffaloes, in his penultimate appearance of the 2008 season.

Here’s a link to the original content on YouTube… and some selected highlights:

0:58 – 91 mph forkball
1:24 – curveball
2:18 – 93 mph two-seam fastball
2:40 – another forkball
3:02 – 96 mph heater
3:40 – 94 mph heater
4:17 – looks like a cut fastball, 91 mph
4:44 & 5:11 – 78 mph 12-6 curve
7:00 — 80 mph curve
7:32 — 91 mph cut fastball
8:00; 8:45;  9:00 — bat-busting 93 mph cutter; 92 mph high fastball; 80 mph hook
9:30 — curve, thrown harder and with a bigger dive than the others
9:54 — 94 mph fastball on the black
10:18 — huge break on this curveball
10:47 — 96 mph heater on the last pitch of the game (his 139th)

What we see in this video is that Darvish runs his straight fastball up to about 96 mph, has three pitches that clock at 90+ mph movement (two-seam, forkball, cut fastball), and a slower curveball. I’d say he commands everything but the fork pretty well. Good stuff, but take it with a grain of salt; Darvish did surrender nine hits and a run in this game.


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  1. Patrick
    Keith Law
    29/12/2008 at 9:30 am Permalink

    It’s a subjective question, but other than the knuckle-curve (also called a “spike” curveball), the forkball is probably the toughest pitch to command.

  2. Patrick
    29/12/2008 at 10:36 am Permalink

    Yeah, even good forkballs seem to wind up in the dirt half the time. I’ll post a clip of Kyuji Fujikawa’s some time.

    In more Darvish news, I think some of those curves might actually be changeups. I’ll take another look after work today. Darvish also has a slider, but I didn’t notice any in this video.