Does Kei Igawa's ghost loom over Darvish's future?
The most obvious comparison for new Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish is his countryman and fellow hurler Daisuke "Dice-K" Matsuzaka.
Dice-K was brought to Boston prior to the 2007 season, using the same posting process that the Rangers won for Darvish. He had the same lofty expectations and had a decent rookie year, the type of season many expect to see from Darvish this year.
Dice-K went 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA to finish fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. The next season, Dice-K was off the charts. He went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and somehow finished fourth in the Cy Young voting. Since then, he's tailed off dramatically and has battled injuries.
But Dice-K doesn't have a mid-90s heater, nor does he have the flash and presence on the mound of the 6-foot-5 Darvish.
Darvish never posted an ERA over 2.00 in his days in Japan, and everyone involved with baseball pretty much says that Darvish is a different animal on the mound than Dice-K.
When Dice-K came to the United States, he was 26. Darvish is 25, but Darvish just seems to have much more upside.
"They [Rangers scouts] span the globe looking for talent, and they've been stuck on him for a couple of years now," Maddux told Norm Hitzges on 1310-The Ticket, talking about the Rangers' scouts relentless research of Darvish. "He's 25 and the other guys have come over at an older age, and he has had more success than any of them. He's well deserving of everything he's gotten. We just have to put him in an environment where he can continue to succeed."