Several questions were raised this past season about the inclusion of Yu Darvish into the elite club of MLB pitching aces.
Most of those questions surrounded Darvish's supposed lack of killer instinct and his ability to execute the shutdown inning, a fancy term for holding the opponents to no runs in a half-inning after your team scores in the previous half-inning.
But a look at the stats makes Darvish's status among the elite unquestionable.
His record was 13-9, but as we all know, win-loss record for starting pitchers is about the most worthless stat in all of baseball. Case in point, Darvish's two September losses in back-to-back starts when he gave up just one run and was dominant but got exactly zero run support in two 1-0 losses. Just those two alone could've easily seen him be 15-7 and there were a few more similar games mixed in, including three other 1-0 losses in his starts.
His ERA was 2.83, more than a full run better than his 2012 ERA and one definitely becoming of an ace.
He led the league in strikeouts per nine innings with an astronomical 11.9, hits per nine innings (6.2) and led all the world in strikeouts with 277. He worked nearly 20 more innings than he did in 2012 and cut down his walk total.
The one glaring issue was home runs, as he allowed 26 on the season, but he was still thoroughly dominant and that should only increase with more experience.
So rest easy, Rangers fans, you have your ace.