by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Yu Darvish was disastrous in the postseason, with a 6.14 ERA over 14.2 IP. While there was talk that he was tipping his pitches, something that obviously would be fixable, he didn’t show any issues during the regular season. That was especially true after the trade to Los Angeles, as he showed impressive numbers in his first taste of the National League:
While the strikeouts were “down” prior to the trade, his SwStr% justified a better mark. He owns a career 12.2% SwStr%, leading to an 11.04 K/9, so the mark in the NL should be viewed as easily sustainable. He also has always shown solid control, with a career 3.32 BB/9, though the mark has been better since returning from missing all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery (2.78 and 2.80, respectively).
The question has always been about his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark, considering his consistently low groundball rate:
- Career – 41.3%
- 2016 – 40.4%
- 2017 – 40.7%
At the same time has he ever called a pitcher’s park home? Last season he allowed a 1.30 HR/9, though he has a career mark of 0.99 so it’s fair to expect an improvement regardless of the groundball rate. Even if he stays at last year’s mark the other statistics shouldn’t deter you as the number shouldn’t rise any further.
While Darvish may not be a SP1, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have that type of upside. He has the potential to be among the league leaders in strikeouts, with the move to the NL and getting to regularly face opposing pitchers only helping his outlook. Couple that with his control and track record of keeping the ball in the ballpark, as well as the potential for more wins given the lineup behind him, and it’s all there. Don’t let a few poor starts in the postseason change your opinion.
Source – Fangraphs
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