Cubs News: Appreciating Yu Darvish’s drastic evolution since 2018

Yu Darvish / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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Yu Darvish / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Cubs fans immediately questioned the Darvish signing after 2018

Things went from bad to worse for Darvish in his inaugural campaign on the North Side. He made just eight starts before missing the rest of the 2018 campaign due to injuries. A 4.95 ERA and career-worst 4.86 FIP in just 40 innings of work were just part of the story.

Twenty-one walks in 40 innings, a 4.7 BB/9 and a 1.425 WHIP, with batters slashing .235/.341/.425 against him. The average is not very high, but the OBP and slugging was much higher than desired. In half (four) of his starts he gave up four or five runs, while walking 3-4 batters in half of his starts. Only three times he made it to the fifth inning and never made it past the sixth.

His one start in which he gave up zero earned runs was against the Brewers on April 27 at Wrigley Field, where he pitched six innings and surrendered one unearned run.

The stuff was still decent overall. His fastball averaged 94.8 MPH, with the sinker at 94.2 and the slider at 85. The lack of command killed him, and it could be fair to speculate that the 2017 World Series was still looming in his mind when he was on the mound.

He was much more reserved than he is now in the public and it did not really seem like he had fully settled in yet. Once the physical injuries hit, his season was all but done. Many feared the big contract was shaping up to be an epic disaster and a huge waste of money. Fans were frustrated, as was he. Critics were hard on him as he needed redemption in 2019.

Full summary of 2018: 4.95 ERA, 4.86 FIP, 1.425 WHIP, 11.0 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, 8.1 H/9 (hits per nine innings), 0.3 fWAR