Chicago Cubs: Presenting the top three players of 2019

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Chicago Cubs: the Chicago Cubs Twitter-Pitcher

3. All-Cubs Awards – Pitcher,  Yu Darvish

I love it when a player answers his critics and no one did it with more vigor and pure athleticism than Chicago Cubs ace Yu Darvish. This guy could not catch a good headline if he ran down a pick pocket on the L. If the articles of the day weren’t about the size of the fence around his property, then they talked about how we was going to choke during big games.

So how does Darvish answer?

Well it depends how you are attacking Darvish, because he’ll defend his name on the field and in social media. Let’s take a look at some of his All-Cub field heroics.

In Darvish’s first win at Wrigley Field as a Cub, the right-hander pitched six dominant shutout innings. Later in the season against the New York Mets, Darvish pitched eight full innings for the first time since 2017, scattering five hits, one walk and striking out seven.

In August, Jesse Rogers of ESPN wrote of Darvish:

"Consider this: Darvish is the first pitcher since at least 1893 to strike out eight or more batters, without issuing a walk, in five consecutive starts. And if he gets through the first inning without giving up a free pass to the Mets on Tuesday night, he’ll own the longest MLB walkless streak of the season."

Then in late August, Darvish introduced the new curveball into his repertoire, the tenth different pitch Darvish had thrown all season. He throws it in a game successfully a week after learning it from Chicago Cubs closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel.

In early September, Darvish made news again striking out 14 batters to lead the Cubs to a much-needed 4-1 victory over the Padres in San Diego. Also in September came a tough-luck loss for the ace pitcher and Chicago Cubs. Darvish allowed three runs on seven hits over 8.1 innings, striking out 12 and taking a loss against the Cardinals. Darvish has left it all on the field this season and has earned the respect of pitchers all over MLB.

Darvish hasn’t had a lot of offense as a pitcher but this year he recorded five hits, two walks, three RBI and one run for the offense. That’s not bad for a pitcher and the best Darvish has done in his career.

Darvish has shown his Cubs spirit off the field while having fun defending himself on Twitter; when attacked he has no problem telling trolls to “eat fried chicken until death”.  He’s also not shying away from any controversy online, especially when Milwaukee Brewers MVP, Christian Yelich was being scrutinized along with other teams for cheating and insults Darvish.  Darvish had no issues stating his thoughts, even when it caused tempers to flare.  In ethical settings, we call that candor and that’s a good part of Darvish’s Cubs spirit.

Many people don’t know that Darvish is one of the most generous sports professionals in the game today. Darvish gives money to fight ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), help people suffering from natural disasters and help provide clean water for developing countries. The Yu Darvish Water Fund established in 2007  in collaboration with the Japan Water Forum supplies safe water to people who face contamination of water in developing countries and lack drinkable water. Darvish donates 100,000 JPY for every win he records to this fund.

Based on my criteria, Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish takes this year’s bronze or third place finish in the “2019 All-Cub Awards”.