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Yu Darvish

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Biography:

Over the years Major League Baseball has enjoyed an influx of some of the world’s best international baseball player’s and Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish may be one of the best Japanese pitchers yet to pitch in the big leagues. Sports Speaker Yu made his MLB debut with the Rangers in 2012 after being heralded as the best pitcher in the Japanese professional leagues. In April of 2014, Yu became the fastest pitcher in MLB history to reach 500 strikeouts in the fewest innings pitched. Just over 2 months into the 2014 season, he pitched 2 1-hit ball games that were both broken up with 2 outs in the 9th inning, just 1 out away from the illustrious no-hitter. He is easily one of the best pitchers in the game right now and is part of a Texas Rangers organization that is rebuilding a playoff caliber team.

Yu was a nationally heralded star in high school and while several MLB teams expressed interest in signing him he wanted to play professionally in Japan and was a top pick in the Japanese NPB Draft. He would play 7 years in the league with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, leading the team to a Japan Series championship in 2006 and earning the MVP Award in the Asia Series that same year. During his time with the fighters he would also pitch for the Japanese national team in the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic. In 2009, he was named the ace of the Japanese team for the World Baseball Classic and helped lead the team to a Gold Medal win over South Korea.

Since joining the Rangers in 2012, Yu has continued his success on the mound and was the American League strikeout leader in just his second season with 277 total strikeouts in 2013. As expected, Yu has been utilized in a number of advertisement campaigns for companies including Seiko Watch and was named the 2012 GQ Man of the Year in the Japanese edition of the popular print publication. While still in the NPB, Yu established the Yu Darvish Water Fund which provides financial support to developing countries to maintain, improve, and better their water systems.