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Yu Darvish Nippon Career Highlights
The best pitcher in the world who is not in the majors is a half-Japanese, half-Iranian wunderkind who is almost two months younger than Phil Hughes. He has been tearing up Japan's Pacific League since he was 18. This winter, Yu Darvish, the 25-year-old righthander who plays for the Nippon-Ham Fighters, could be taking his splendid arm to the major leagues. And if Darvish goes through Japan's posting system, in which big-league teams bid for the right to negotiate to sign him, he could give some lucky team a young, instant ace. The 6-foot-5 Darvish was terrific in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the first extended look American fans got of him. Darvish was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA for Japan, the eventual WBC champion. He is also the only pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history to have a sub-2.00 ERA for five consecutive seasons, including a 1.44 ERA this year when he was 18-6.