He has had a somewhat adventurous MLB career so far, as he has spent time with four different clubs over his nine seasons.
When he’s at his best, the righty is one of the most reliable starting pitchers in the league.
But this season, he hasn’t exactly lived up to that billing.
In the first half, he pitched well enough to earn an All-Star selection, but he has regressed since that time.
In fact, since the beginning of July, he has pitched to a miserable 7.67 ERA and 5.74 FIP over 11 starts.
Yu Darvish has allowed 45 runs over his last 49 innings pitched.
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) September 14, 2021
The poor stretch has inflated his overall numbers in 2021 to the tune of a 4.32 ERA and 4.02 FIP.
While those numbers are decent, it’s not the type of production we typically see from the 35-year-old.
Today, we’re going to take a look back at some of his better years.
Just Last Season, He Finished 2nd In Cy Young Voting
As recently as last year, Darvish was pitching like an ace.
The 2020 season was his last with the Chicago Cubs, and he made it count.
He pitched to a 2.01 ERA, 224 ERA+, 2.23 FIP, and 0.96 WHIP over 12 starts.
He finished second in the Cy Young race and even received some votes in the MVP race.
Trevor Bauer wins NL Cy Young. 27 1st place votes. Darvish 2nd, deGrom 3rd.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 11, 2020
Of course, we have to keep in mind that the COVID-shortened 2020 season produced a lot of very small sample sizes, but that wasn’t within Darvish’s control.
He did his job over the 12 starts he got, and that’s all you could have asked of him.
Over His First Five Seasons In The League, He Earned Four All-Star Selections
Darvish entered the league with a bang.
Over his first five MLB seasons, he established himself as one of the best starters in baseball.
He earned four All-Star selections, received Cy Young votes in two seasons, MVP votes in one season, and Rookie of the Year votes in one season.
Overall, he pitched to a 3.42 ERA, 3.30 FIP, and 1.18 WHIP over the five-year span.
Of those five years, his 2012 campaign was arguably his best.
That year, he managed a 2.83 ERA, 3.28 FIP, and 1.07 WHIP.
He led the league in strikeouts (277), strikeouts per nine (11.9), and hits per nine (6.2).
He finished second in Cy Young voting that year, ultimately falling in the race to Max Scherzer (who had an outstanding season himself).
Unfortunately for Darvish, his 2012 season was his second-to-last year before he had to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL.
But on the bright side, he bounced back just fine upon his return.
Will Darvish Ever Return To His Old Self?
The Padres and Darvish are married until 2024, so both sides are certainly hoping things will improve in the near future.
San Diego likely isn’t thrilled with his performance this season, but it’s too soon to panic about the possibility of him being washed.
The veteran has had rocky seasons in the past and bounced back just fine.
The hope is that history will repeat itself in that sense.
However, given the fact that Darvish is 35, next season will probably tell us a lot about his trajectory for the rest of his career.
2022 will definitely be a pivotal year for him.