Rangers' Yu Darvish Piling Up Double-Digit Strikeout Games at Near-Record Pace

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffMay 17, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 16:  Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish struck out 11 batters in Friday's 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, thus notching his 22nd double-digit strikeout performance through 69 career starts. Going back to 1914, former New York Mets hurler Doc Gooden is the only player to have more double-digit strikeout outings through the first 69 outings of his career, per MLB Stat of the Day.

While Darvish's 22 such outings are unquestionably impressive, Gooden had an astounding 27 at the same point in his career. Making his feat even more incredible, Gooden was only 19 years old at the time of his major league debut in 1984 and only 21 years old when he made his 69th appearance.

Known as much for his precipitous decline as his dominant early years, Gooden owns no shortage of early-career records, yet didn't even come close to key milestones like 3,000 strikeouts and 300 wins.

Though Darvish figures to have more staying power than Gooden, the Japanese hurler will also have a hard time reaching the major pitching milestones. Having spent his first seven professional seasons in Japan, the 27-year-old Darvish not only got a relatively late start on his MLB career, but he also accumulated a ton of wear and tear on his arm.

With 20-win seasons increasingly rare and Darvish owning just 32 career victories, the 300-win mark looks nearly impossible. The 3,000 strikeout club—currently populated by 16 players—is a bit more attainable, as Darvish has shown an incredible penchant for the punchout with a career K/9 mark of 11.13.