Well now. That undoubtedly would be the consensus reaction over the past week when the San Diego Padres completed not one but TWO trades to net them a former Cy Young Award-winning pitcher. Just days after securing Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Padres turned around and gave the Chicago Cubs the payroll relief they were looking for in bringing aboard Yu Darvish. Fresh off a monster comeback 2020 campaign that reversed recent seasons filled with injury and underperformance, Darvish posted the following numbers:
Yes we have to take into account the small sample size of 2020 given the Covid-19 impacted miniature season but still Darvish was dominant throughout with his best overall numbers on a per start basis since 2014. While he is no stranger to injury (Tommy John already under his belt) and now inching up in age at 34, Darvish moves to spacious Petco Park where his strikeout artistry will become even more pronounced. Now working on 6 out of 8 career seasons with a K/9 over 11.00, Darvish could approach a career-best mark in that category given his new digs. Making things even more impressive is that Darvish' 2.23 FIP a year ago shows he was actually pitching as well as the numbers indicated. Add in a career-best (and likely unsustainable) 1.66 BB/9 and we are quite bullish on Darvish for 2021 fantasy baseball. Yes the injury threat remains real but Darvish is absolutely worth targeting as your SP 1 if you choose to wait on addressing the spot while piling up bats in the initial rounds of your draft.
2021 PROJECTION: 14-7 3.38 ERA 1.24 WHIP 227 K