Sizing up Yu Darvish's Cy Young chances

September 26th, 2020

CHICAGO -- has brushed off any questions about the National League Cy Young Award this season, answering only that he was focusing on his next pitch. The next pitch for the Cubs' ace will be in the Wild Card Series, but he maintained his stance on Friday night.

"The season is not over," Darvish said. "Maybe I can pitch one more game."

Darvish was being facetious in the wake of his final start of this unique regular season. While the right-hander remained unwilling to discuss the possibility of taking home the NL Cy Young Award, his final campaign performance in Friday's 10-0 victory over the White Sox spoke volumes.

Darvish spun seven shutout innings, marking the eighth time in his dozen starts that he allowed no more than one run. The righty struck out five and issued one walk, heading off the Guaranteed Rate Field mound with a 2.01 ERA and eventually picking up his eighth win of the season.

Cubs manager David Ross laughed when asked who would get his vote in the tightly contested NL Cy Young race.

"It'd go to my guy," Ross said. "What're you talking about? I don't care about anybody in the league but my players, to be honest with you. I'd give all my guys every award I could."

Besides Darvish, the two other leading candidates would appear to be Reds righty and Mets ace , who has won each of the past two NL Cy Young trophies. Bauer is scheduled to start next in Game 1 of Cincinnati's Wild Card Series, while deGrom turned in his final start of the season on Saturday against the Nationals.

Here is a look at how those three contenders for the highest pitching hardware compare in a few key categories:

WAR (FanGraphs)
Darvish: 3.0
deGrom: 2.7
Bauer: 2.5

Bauer: 1.73
Darvish: 2.01
deGrom: 2.38

deGrom: 104-18
Bauer: 100-17
Darvish: 93-14

Darvish: 76
Bauer: 73
deGrom: 68

Win Probability Added
Darvish: 2.30
Bauer: 1.53
deGrom: 0.98

For Darvish, this season's showing has been a continuation of what he started in the second half of last season. Dating back to that point, he has fashioned a 2.40 ERA with 211 strikeouts against 21 walks in 157 2/3 innings, compiling 5.4 WAR (FanGraphs) across 25 starts in that span.

During that run, Victor Caratini became Darvish's personal catcher, and the pair have formed a strong rapport. Caratini took a lot of pride in being behind the plate for Alec Mills' no-hitter on Sept. 13, and said that having Darvish win the Cy Young Award would also feel like a joint accomplishment.

"It would bring a lot of pride I know for him and for myself," Caratini said Friday via team translator Will Nadal. "I can speak for myself, having caught all of his outings. Winning that prize is a pitcher's dream. It's one of their goals. So, I would be really happy for him, for his effort, for his sacrifice, and what I have contributed to get there."

Darvish was pleased to end his season with such a strong start, given that he will take the ball next in either Game 1 or Game 2 of the Wild Card Series (opponent to be determined).

"I feel really great," Darvish said. "So, I'm happy for everything this season."

Just don't ask him about the Cy Young Award, yet.