SP Yu Darvish – San Diego Padres
Like Kershaw, Yu Darvish has had his fair share of injuries in the past that would make one question his ability to stay healthy. Except, Darvish has stayed healthy for the past two seasons, and was the runner-up for the award this past season.
Coming in second place in 2020, Darvish had an 8-3 record in 12 starts. He posted a 2.01ERA, 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings, and had 2.7 wins above replacement. For the four-time All-Star, it was by far one of his most impressive seasons, if not the best of his career.
The question now becomes, can Darvish replicate it? After all, he posted a 3.98ERA the year prior and has only a 12-game sample size of being an elite National League starter.
Only time will tell, though, the chances could be better than one might think.
Darvish will be 34-years-old and is now heading to the west coast as the Cubs dealt him to the San Diego Padres earlier this off-season. He joins a strong rotation of Blake Snell, Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, and Joe Musgrove.
Darvish is clearly the elder statesmen of their, then again, he did earn multiple first-place Cy Young votes last season. He also has flashed this elite level pitching in the past, and now will look to maintain it.
In other words, Darvish makes for the biggest wild card of the group because of his ups and downs. Depending on which version shows up in 2021, the Padres could have a big-time Cy Young candidate leading their team.