Chicago Cubs: This starting rotation could be even better than in 2016

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: Darvish can take things to a new level

In his introductory press conference Tuesday, Darvish received a question regarding the Cubs’ usage of metrics and run prevention. He said, through a translator, that he hadn’t seen them before and was intrigued to see how it could help him improve.

Combine Chicago’s elite defense and the fact that Darvish boasts the third-highest strikeout rate in baseball since joining the league (trailing only Max Scherzer and the late Jose Fernandez) – and you have a recipe for success.

In his career, Darvish boasts a 63 percent quality start rate – well above the league mark of 50 percent. He’s been largely effective at keeping the ball down – and with more than half-a-dozen pitches at his disposal, it’s easy to see how he keeps opponents off-balance.

Last year, for the second consecutive campaign, Jake Arrieta led the league in wild pitches and posted a 2.96 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Darvish replaces that with a 3.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio that was even better with Los Angeles (4.69).

For Yu Darvish to have success, he needs to limit the long-ball, take advantage of the infield behind him and keep the Cubs in ballgames. Chicago doesn’t need eight-inning shutouts from the right-hander. They’ve got the offensive firepower to win ballgames – Darvish needs to turn in quality innings and be ready come October.