Yu Darvish is AL's nastiest pitcher

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The best way to determine which major league pitchers have the filthiest stuff is to examine how many times hitters swing and miss.

Right now, Yu Darvish is easily the American League’s best.

Hitters have swung and missed at a league-leading 135 of his pitches. Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Detroit’s Justin Verlander each have 92. Boston’s Ryan Dempster is fourth with 89 and Detroit’s Max Scherzer is fifth with 87.

If we’re talking swing and miss percentage, then Yu is really off the charts. Batters have swung and missed at 40.7 percent of his pitches this season. Toronto’s Steve Delabar is second at 36.8 percent and Dempster is third at 34.4 percent.

Darvish leads the AL with 72 strikeouts in just 45 2/3 innings. As you would expect, he leads the AL with 14.19 strikeouts per nine innings.

Strikeouts are great because they allow a pitcher to work out of jams without giving up runs since he’s getting outs without allowing the ball to be put in play. Once a ball is put in play, any number of bad things can happen.

Darvish is 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting just .169 against him.

He dominates because he throws several different fastballs and breaking balls at a variety of different arm slots and speeds. All of that makes it difficult for hitters to look for a certain pitch in a particular location.

"He's a No. 1 pitcher. He just had to get his foot on the ground in the United States," manager Ron Washington said. "He has pitches and, because he can throw anything at any time for a strike, it makes him tough.”

And the AL’s filthiest pitcher.