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Rangers' Yu Darvish Showcases Elite Talent, Can Be Among League's Best

If you were wondering why Jon Daniels and the Texas Rangers let C.J. Wilson sign with the Los Angeles Angels, for a reasonable price no less, then hopefully you watched the Rangers take on the Rockies last night. Yes, it's just a Cactus League game, but Yu Darvish showed the baseball world why the Rangers invested so heavily in him over the winter.

Darvish did give up three runs, two of which game on home run by Jason Giambi that's still traveling in the stratosphere somewhere. Aside from that, though Darvish seemingly showed off his entire arsenal of pitches en route to striking out 11 Rockies in just six innings.

MLB.com has highlights of each strike out, and it's tough to find any pitcher in the big leagues that Darvish can't go toe-to-toe with in terms of pure stuff. Darvish showed off an array of fastballs, including a four seam, two seam, and cutter, to go along with sharp sliders and slow curves.

Of course, Darvish has showcased his stuff in previous Cactus League games. Friday night's start against the Rockies, though, was the first time that seemingly everything was clicking at once: his fastball command was present, and his offspeed pitches were thrown with sharpness.

If Darvish maintains his fastball command throughout the season, and there's no reason to think he won't since he only walked 36 batters in 232 innings last year in Japan, then he should be a legitimate ace and a Cy Young contender for the Rangers this season. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but Darvish certainly possesses the stuff to be among the league's very best pitchers.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.