Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs
There was good news this week for Yu Darvish — he earned his first win of 2019 on Monday and doubled his career win total as a member of the Cubs. The bad news? Well, he can’t get his control…under control. He’s yet to complete six innings in a start this year and has walked at least four hitters on three different occasions.
The right-hander obviously has time to get this corrected, but his walk rate is continuing a troubling trend since 2016. He posted a career-best 7.5% walk rate for the Rangers that year, and followed it up with a similarly solid 7.6% rate in ’17. His workload was limited last year, but it jumped to 11.7% and is currently sitting at 18.1%.
Chicago finds itself among the league’s worst with regard to cumulative walk rate. As mentioned in these parts prior to the season getting underway, Darvish needs to be more like himself if the Cubs want to compete in the NL Central. Budget restrictions forced them to hold off on making any big offseason splashes, but a healthy and productive Darvish would be as good as making one based off his lack of production in ’18.