Yu Darvish was a bust in his first season as a free-agent signing with the Chicago Cubs but flashed Cy Young potential at times in 2019. What to expect this year? Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Darvish’s 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Yu Darvish MLB Awards Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
In February 2018, the Chicago Cubs were coming off another playoff appearance and still considered themselves top-flight World Series contenders. It appeared the Cubbies got much stronger that winter when they signed former Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish to a six-year, $!26 million deal. Chicago outbid the Twins and Brewers among a few others.
The deal seemed reasonable at the time as Darvish had some of the most electric stuff in baseball and an All-Star for the fourth time in 2017, with a 3.86 ERA and 209 strikeouts in 31 starts for the Rangers and Dodgers. After his trade to Los Angeles, he helped the Dodgers reach the World Series, although he struggled in two starts in the Fall Classic against Houston. His average fastball velocity of 94.2 mph in 2017 was the best of his MLB career, per FanGraphs. Darvish showed no effects after missing all of 2015 and the first two months of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery.
However, in Darvish’s first season in Chicago he was an utter flop. Darvish battled triceps and elbow injuries early in the season and then was shut down in August 2018 for good with a stress reaction on his right elbow. In eight starts, Darvish has posted a 4.95 ERA with a 1-3 record. In September 2019, Darvish had undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow to clean out loose debris.
Thus, entering 2019 Darvish was a major question mark – and he started slowly. He was 2-4 with a 5.01 ERA (54 ER/97.0 IP) in 18 starts prior to the All-Star break. But by the end of the season, it looked like the signing might well work out long term for the Cubs.
Darvish had a dominant second half of the season, posting a 2.76 ERA (25 ER/81.2 IP) with 118 strikeouts in 13 starts following the All-Star break. Overall, he went 6-8 with a 3.98 ERA (79 ER/178.2 IP) in a team-high tying 31 starts in his second season with Chicago.
He led all Cubs pitchers with 229 strikeouts (tied for seventh-most in the N.L.) and had six games with at least 10 strikeouts, the most by a Cub since Mark Prior had six such games in 2005. In his final three starts of the season, Darvish struck out a combined 39 batters, including a season-high 14 strikeouts, September 12 at San Diego.
Overall, Darvish limited opponents to a .213 average and a .284 on-base percentage. He allowed five or fewer hits in 22 of his 31 starts. However, he did allow a career-high 33 homers.
Yu Darvish is 63-53 with a 3.57 ERA (417 ER/1,051.0 IP) and 1,299 strikeouts in 170-career major league starts with the Rangers (2012-17), Dodgers (2017) and Cubs (2018-19). He is the eighth Japanese-born player in Cubs history, and the fifth pitcher. Since 2012, he ranks second among all pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings (11.12), third in opponent batting average (.218) and hits allowed per nine innings (7.28).
This offseason, Darvish could have opted out of his contract but didn’t want to leave four guaranteed years and $81 million on the table. Some teams also inquired about trading for Darvish, but he said he had no intention of waiving his no-trade clause. Darvish has only limited no-trade protection for the final three years of his contract.
In a couple of Cactus League starts this spring, Darvish looked solid with a 3.60 ERA. Cubs manager David Ross said that either Darvish or Kyle Hendricks was going to be the Opening Day starter.