As we move closer to finding out who won the bidding for Darvish (sounds like Toronto?) I have been thinking a lot about where he fits in among the top prospects in the game. I know this has been discussed some in the community ranking posts but thought it probably deserved a post of its own. When Daisuke came over, he was ranked #1 by Baseball America in their 2007 top 100. Based on many articles I have read, Darvish is a better pitcher than Daisuke was at the same age. Take a read through this excerpt from a great article over at Fangraphs titled "Darvish Is Not Daisuke."
Comparing their performance results in Japan:
"Matsuzaka had a 2.95 ERA in eight seasons in Japan. He never once had an ERA under 2.00. He had an 8.7 K/9. Darvish just completed his fifth-straight season in which he had an ERA under 2.00 and a whip under 1.00. This year was his finest to date: 16-5, 1.48 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 240 K, 32 BB, 5 HR in 207 IP (stats as of Sept. 27). Overall, Darvish managed a 1.996 ERA in his seven NPB years, with an 8.9 K/9. Demonstrably better."
Regarding Darvish's 5-pitch mix:
"The 25-year-old Darvish throws five pitches that project as above average at the MLB level: a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a pair of sliders and a 12-6 curveball. He’s also added a cutter into his repertoire this year, and he mixes in occasional changeups and forkballs. Darvish’s out pitches have been his two sliders: a mid-80′s horizontal slider that breaks hard and away from right-handed batters, and a lower-80′s downward-breaking slider. This year he induced whiffs 19.5% of the time he threw his slider — and he threw them about a quarter of the time."
My initial feeling was to slot him in right behind Matt Moore as the #2 pitching prospect and #4 overall prospect. But there really aren't many pitchers with 5 pitches that project as at least above average in the MLB. Even though Daisuke was #1 overall in 2007, I feel like the top 3 of the current year (Harper, Trout, Moore) is much stronger than the top 3 in 2007 (Alex Gordon, Delmon Young, Phillip Hughes). So I'm still undecided as to where I would put him, and wanted to use this forum for the community to provide their opinion and insights.