Yu Darvish sets record among Japanese pitchers in MLB

Yu Darvish sets record among Japanese pitchers in MLB
from Larry Brown Sports with Renzo Pocholo Salao, and from YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
Fans have been completely enamored with Shohei Ohtani over the last few seasons — and for good reason. But once upon a time, it was Yu Darvish who was touted as Japan’s next big baseball export. Now 12 years into his MLB career, Darvish etched his name in the history books for a feat unmatched by any Japanese player thus far.

On Monday, the San Diego Padres pitcher struck out Baltimore Orioles third baseman Ramon Urias. The strikeout was the 1,989th of Darvish’s career, surpassing former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo for most strikeouts from a Japanese-born player in MLB history. Darvish was even able to secure the feat with Nomo watching in the stands.

It’s no surprise to see Darvish take the crown as the Japanese strikeout leader. The 5-time All-Star has been one of the most potent strikeout artists in the majors since he joined the Texas Rangers in 2012.

Darvish was also able to surpass Nomo’s mark in 59 fewer games pitched, thanks in large part to the Padres star’s ridiculous strikeout rate. Darvish owns the fourth-highest strikeout rate per nine innings pitched in MLB history (10.7). He ranks just behind Chris Sale (11.1), Robbie Ray (11.0), and Jacob deGrom (10.9).

Ohtani is currently on track to surpass Darvish if he keeps up his current pace. The Los Angeles Angels superstar averages an even more outrageous 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Ohtani’s mark would rank as the highest in MLB history if he met the 1,000-inning qualifier to make the list on Baseball Reference.

Of course, that assumes Ohtani will be able to prolong his career as a pitcher as well as Darvish has. The 36-year-old has managed to stay effective well into his mid-thirties. Darvish remains under contract with the Padres until 2028.