MLB — 23 May 2012

Starting pitchers haven’t even made ten starts yet, but there have been some surprises in the American League. The much hyped up Yu Darvish has been nothing short of spectacular, but there has been one veteran that has really come through in 2012.

I will let you find out who that veteran is.

Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers

The Rangers organization must have seen something special in Yu Darvish when he was pitching in Japan because it’s not too often a team forks up $50 million to just talk to the player and his agent. On top of the $50 million posting fee, the Rangers inked Yu to a six-year, $60 million contract, which brings the total up to $110 million.

Did they overpay him?

Considering that Yu is 6-1 with a dominant 2.60 ERA, the Rangers definitely aren’t overpaying him, but let’s check in with him later this summer. Darvish has also shown the baseball world that he has some pretty nasty stuff as he has struck out 58 batters in only 52 innings of work. Just ask some of the Yankee’s hitters about Darvish’s filthy pitches as Yu arguably had his best start of the season against the Bronx Bombers. He pitched 8.1 innings, allowed no runs, and struck out 10 batters on just two walks.

Anyone who pitches for the Rangers is going to pile up wins, simply because the power bats in the Ranger’s lineup produces a minimum of five runs per game. This means that Yu’s ERA will be the barometer for his success and so far he’s done very well in that department.

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Verlander carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning on the first day of interleague play Friday night, only to have it broken up by a single up the middle by Josh Harriston. But his dominance hasn’t been limited in 2012. In nine starts, Verlander is 5-1 with a sensational 2.14 ERA and it’s clear that the success he had last year wasn’t a fluke nor will the high expectation affect him.

The combination a lights out 100 MPH fastball backed up with a nasty curveball is unhittable. That lethal combination has fans on no-hitter watch every five days when Verlander toes the rubber. Power pitchers like Verlander are prime candidates to win the Cy Young award nowadays, and Verlander is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball when it comes to power pitching.

Derek Lowe, Cleveland Indians

The Indians certainly didn’t expect Lowe to have a 6-1 record with a 2.05 ERA in mid May, but he’s been lights out in his first eight starts this year. His most impressive start of the year came against the Twins on Tuesday where he tossed a complete game shutout.

Lowe’s sinker ball hasn’t been a big strikeout pitch this year. The former Brave has only struck out 13 batters in 52.2 innings pitched, but he’s been effective.

I would be surprised to see him in the running for the Cy Young award at the end of the season, but as of right now, he has the best ERA out of all starters in the American League so give him some credit.

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Jake Dal Porto

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