Most Valuable: Yu Darvish (3.19)
Least Valuable: Trent Thornton (-2.25)
It’s been another tough year for Darvish in Chicago, evidenced by his 4.75 ERA and 12.7% walk rate. Most of his pitches have struggled, but one that clearly hasn’t is his cutter, which he’s throwing more than ever. Heading into this year, the most he had thrown it was at a 17.5% clip as a rookie with the Texas Rangers. His usage is currently up at 30.2%. The right-hander’s peripherals for the pitch are outstanding (5.0% walk rate, 32.0% strikeout rate) while holding opposing hitters to a .160/.200/.255 triple slash and 27 wRC+.
Thornton’s first 82.2 big-league innings have gone pretty well considering the circumstances. He’s walking 10.6% of hitters he faces but is also striking out 24.3% of them, along with accruing 1.3 fWAR. Among pitches he’s thrown more than 100 times, though, his cutter is by far the worst. Hitters have posted an 18.0% walk rate, 14.0% strikeout rate, and 162 wRC+ against it.