Yu Darvish’s 221 Strikeouts

Jason Cole over at Lone Star Dugout shared a fantastic YouTube video today on Facebook that shows the third strike of all of Yu Darvish’s 221 strikeouts (embedded at bottom, too, if you want to wait). It’s the perfect antidote to the winter malaise that baseball fans suffer, especially at this point when the Hot Stove has chilled as most of the biggest names have signed and trade rumors are in a lull. As an addendum to this brilliant video, here are some Yu-related strikeout stats:

  • Yu’s 10.4 K/9 was 2nd in MLB (Max Scherzer 11.1) among qualified starters.

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  • Yu’s 10.4 K/9 was 4th in MLB history for qualified rookies (Kerry Wood 12.6, Doc Gooden 11.4, Hideo Nomo 11.1).

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  • Yu’s 27 percent strikeout rate was 2nd in MLB behind Scherzer’s 29 percent mark.

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  • Yu’s 27 percent strikeout rate is 4th best among qualified (162+ IP) rookies behind the same three from the second entry. All three of those guys fanned 30 percent or more including Wood’s filthy 33.3 percent mark.

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  • Yu’s 221 strikeouts were 7th in MLB despite the fact that both he and Scherzer didn’t even eclipse 200 innings, let alone the 227 that the other five (Justin Verlander, R.A. Dickey, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, and James Shields) all reached or exceeded.

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  • Yu’s 221 strikeouts rank 6th among rookies behind Gooden (276), Herb Score (245), Nomo (236), Wood (233 in 167 IP!), and Pete Alexander (227). Alexander needed exactly 200 more innings to finish six strikeouts behind Wood.

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  • Yu’s 221 strikeouts mark just 9th time a pitcher has achieved more than 220 strikeouts in fewer than 200 innings. Both he and Scherzer achieved the feat this year (231 in 187.7 IP) and they join Oliver Perez (239 in 196), Nomo (236 in 191.3), Wood (233 in 166.7), Sam McDowell (225 in 194.3), David Cone (222 in 195), Erik Bedard (221 in 182), and Nomo again (220 in 198). All but McDowell occurred in the last 18 years. McDowell pulled it off in 1966 when he and Dave Boswell blew the field away at 10.4 and 9.2 K/9, respectively, while Mickey Lolich finished a very distant third at 7.6 K/9.

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  • Yu’s 192 strikeouts on a swinging strike were 1st in MLB just ahead of Scherzer at 189. Dickey (187) and Verlander (181) joined them as the only four to top 175. It is the 6th best mark in the last four years (as far as the data goes) behind Clayton Kershaw’s 200 in 2011 and four guys in 2009: Tim Lincecum (205), Verlander (202), Javier Vazquez (202), and Zack Grienke (194).

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  • Yu’s 59 three-pitch strikeouts were 1st in the American League and 3rd overall behind Cliff Lee’s 70 and Dickey’s 62.

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  • Yu’s 50 percent strikeout rate in two-strike plate appearances was 1st in the American League and tied for 2nd in MLB behind teammates Stephen Strasburg (52%) and Gio Gonzalez (50%).

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  • Yu’s 29 percent whiff rate is the 2nd best in baseball behind Rich Harden’s 30 percent mark since 2007 according to this Brooks Baseball/BP chart. Harden’s figure is made more impressive when you realize that it is a composite mark for 2007-2011.

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  • Yu’s 28 percent whiff rate on fourseam fastballs is the best during that span with a minimum of 500 heaters thrown. The chart can be viewed in detail here.

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  • Yu wiggled out of 36 three-ball counts for strikeouts which was good for 2nd best in the American League behind Verlander (43) and 9th overall behind Yovani Gallardo (49), Greinke (44), Cole Hamels (43), Gonzalez (42), Matt Cain (38), Madison Bumgarner (38), and Kershaw (37).

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  • Yu’s 21 percent wiggle-out rate (strikeouts in three-ball PAs) was tied for the 7th-highest in MLB with Hamels dominating the field at 31 percent. There are 14 pitchers Yu and Hamels with several ties include two at 25 percent, three at 24, and seven at 22 along with solo entries at 28 and 23.

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  • Yu’s 122 strikeouts out of the strike zone were 5th best in baseball behind Hernandez (142), Greinke (136), Shields (132), and CC Sabathia (124).

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  • Yu got 116 of those 122 strikeouts on swing-and-misses, good for 2nd best in baseball behind Hernandez at 128.

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  • Yu is awesome.

It figures that my first post of 2013 would be about a badass strikeout pitcher. For those curious, I have finished my work on the Baseball Prospectus 2013 Annual so I’ve turned my full attention to the 2013 Starting Pitcher Guide. I’ll have news on that soon. In the meantime, my fall/winter slumber here is officially done with this post so expect regular content to return even as I work on the guide.

Here is the Yu video if you don’t want to click the link at the beginning of the post:

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