Taking a look at San Diego Padres right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish
In 2020, only three pitchers in baseball finished with a better ERA than Yu Darvish’s 2.01.
That was a career-best for Darvish, who also happened to win eight games that were tied for the league’s best.
Last year was arguably Darvish’s best season in his career. He was the National League Cy runner-up in a shortened 60 game season. Darvish showed that he still has a lot left in the tank at 34. He finished top five in the National League in wins, ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched, and WHIP. This made him a top trade target during the offseason, which saw him get dealt to the San Diego Padres from the Chicago Cubs.
He is joining an already impressive staff that headlines Blake Snell, Dinelson Lamet, Joe Musgrove, and Chris Paddack. The Padres hope that Darvish can bring over his newfound success and help them get over the hump in October.
Darvish is one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game. He has a career 11.1 K/9 which is best among all active starting pitchers. His personal catcher Victor Caratini got traded along with Darvish, which is very important. Darvish has a career 2.80 ERA with Caratini behind the dish with the battery mates having 196 innings together, which is the most for any catcher who has caught Darvish. Darvish is also coming off his best season as a pitcher. Last season he had 0.96 WHIP, 0.59 HR/9, and a 1.7 BB/9 which were career bests.
Darvish has had injury issues in the past, only pitching over 200 innings once in his career. He missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. The Friars acquired Darvish for one reason and one reason only, October. The only problem is that Darvish has struggled in the postseason. In 33 innings pitched, Darvish has compiled a 2-5 record with a 5.18 ERA. This is a little worrisome, especially since he’s expected to be at the top of the rotation. His strikeouts per nine are down in the playoffs compared to his regular season with an 8.5 K/9. Strikeouts play more in the playoffs compared to the regular season. Darvish got traded to the Padres, who play at Petco Park and the NL West. He has a career 4.75 ERA against NL West opponents and a 4.11 ERA in NL West ballparks. This is troublesome, given he will be pitching in these ballparks and against these opponents in half of his starts.
Darvish will be one of the Padres’ top two starters in 2021.
He should be a 10-15 game-winner, record a sub 3.50 ERA, earn 200 plus strikeouts with over 150 innings pitched. He is joining an impressive rotation, and Padres’ fans should expect that they will push each other to reach their full potential. Darvish has the capability to be a top-five pitcher in the National League. He has his personal catcher in Caratini and has a great defense behind him. He is also coming off his best season. There is no reason why he can’t carry over that success and have a great season for the Friars, even with those numbers against the NL West and October.
He’s on a great team in the San Diego Padres, and there is no reason why he won’t be pitching in the postseason and being a huge contributor for them in 2021.