Chicago Cubs: Three players under the most pressure in 2020

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish has quickly become a fan favorite on the north side of Chicago. He had a great second half of 2019, while his personality and posts on Twitter have provided entertainment for many Cubs fans this past offseason.

Yet let’s not forget that it wasn’t that long ago that many Cubs fans had deemed the Darvish signing to be a disaster. After signing a big six-year deal with the club, he was ineffective in 2018 before going down with injury. Then, he put together a second half in which he posted a 2.76 ERA in 13 starts, but not before posting a 5.01 ERA in 18 first half starts.

So Darvish has basically had less than half a season of great pitching following one and a half years of injuries and ineffectiveness. I’m not trying to rain on the parade that is Cubs fans’ love for Darvish, but especially with Darvish about to turn 34, it’s far from a guarantee that he will continue to pitch like he did down the stretch late last year.

With Jon Lester appearing to be in the twilight of his career and Jose Quintana not living up to expectations after the big trade for him in 2017, the expectations will be very high for Darvish this season. The Cubs have to have a great season from him; if he stumbles out of the gate and starts walking people at a high rate again, the love fest for Darvish could quickly come to an end.

I hope it doesn’t happen and that Darvish has a great 12 or 13 start season for the Cubs in 2020. All I’m saying is that the fans will be expecting him to continue his dominance from late last year, and if it doesn’t happen, the Cubs’ shortened season could quickly turn south. So though we may not realize it at first, the sky-high expectations for Darvish mean the pressure will be on.