Over 20 Scouts Watch Darvish
According to multiple Japanese sources, over 20 scouts from more than 10 teams gathered to watch Japan’s exhibition game against the Cubs, with the center of attention obviously being Yu Darvish. Darvish didn’t disappoint, holding the Cubs scoreless in his two innings of work. Nikkan Sports adds that he hit 96mph on the gun, or about 155kmph. His fastest recorded pitch in NPB is 154kmph so he might have dialled it up a little bit for the Cubs. He also threw his two-seam fastball and slider, but no word on whether his curveball has made an appearance.
I didn’t see any of this game. I actually get WGN on my cable system so I’m kicking myself for not knowing whether they aired it or not. Anyway, here are some quotes from people who were there as reported by Nikkan Sports:
Alfonso Soriano: “He’s a good pitcher. His breaking pitches in particular stand out. He’s a tough opponent. He could definitely play in the majors.”
Carlos Zambrano: “He has an aura on the mound. That’s important for a pitcher. He uses his off-speed pitches well, and really knows how to pitch.”
SF Giants Far East Scount John Cox: “We don’t know if he’ll come over via posting or as a free agent, but if he’s interested in the majors we’ll think about acquiring him.”
Daisuke Matsuzaka will reportedly start against Cuba in round two, so we can expect to see Darvish later in the tournament.