Six MLB pitchers quietly dominating in the second half

Six MLB pitchers quietly dominating in the second half

Chin Music Baseball

Six MLB pitchers quietly dominating in the second half


Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs

It feels weird putting Yu Darvish on this list, but he’s struggled so much that it seems as if what he’s been doing since the All-Star break has actually gone under the radar a bit.

While one would think it’s difficult to have just a 4-6 record through 24 starts and 132 innings, that’s exactly where the right-hander stands at the moment. His 4.43 season-long ERA doesn’t look all that wonderful, but it could’ve been a lot worse after the kind of first half he had.

Through his first 97 innings, Darvish struggled to a 5.01 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Since returning from the All-Star break, those numbers have dropped dramatically to 2.83 and 0.77, respectively, in 35 frames. A huge change has come in his strikeout and walk rates. Darvish is whiffing 35.1% of hitters in the second half after posting just a 26.5% clip in the first half. What’s more dramatic of a change is his walk rate: after allowing 11.7% of hitters to reach via the free pass prior to the midsummer classic, that number is all the way down to 1.5% (!) at the moment.

He’s accomplished this by getting ahead in the count much more often. His first-pitch strike rate has risen more than eight percentage points in the second half to 67.9%. That’s been paired with a rise of about nine percentage points in chase rate, bringing that number to 39.3% at the moment.

This is the pitcher the Cubs were hoping they acquired two winters again when Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract.

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