By: Alex Patt
The Chicago Cubs got their man Saturday when they agreed to terms with Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal. Bringing Darvish aboard adds a huge weapon to an already solid rotation.
It seems now the rotation is set, and that Jake Arrieta will pitch in another uniform in 2018. While sad that he will no longer be a North Sider, it is exciting looking forward to the pitching staff moving forward.
The starting rotation has their projected five guys. Darvish and Tyler Chatwood are the additions with Arrieta and John Lackey being subtractions. So add those to alongside Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana. To look the order, there are a few ways one could construct this line up. Darvish, Lester and Hendricks at this rate are capable of being number one pitchers with Quintana no less than a two or three. Here is one way to put the rotation together that seems to be the popular. NOTE: 2017 stats
- Jon Lester (4.33 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 180 K in 180.2 IP)
- Yu Darvish (3.86 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 1.63 WHIP, 209 K in 186.2 IP )
- Kyle Hendricks (3.03 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 123 K in 139.2 IP)
- Jose Quintana (3.74 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, 98 K in 84.1 IP w/Cubs)
- Tyler Chatwood (4.69 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.44 WHIP, 120 K in 147.2 IP )
While Jon Lester had a rough year last year for Jon Lester standards, he still can be the leader of the rotation. His first two years as a Cub he combined for a 2.89 ERA, 3.16 FIP and 1.07 WHIP. Last year Lester did not look like himself and could have been experiencing some fatigue at times. He can bounce back, Lester that good of a pitcher and blips happen. Yu Darvish who has ace-type stuff can sit right behind Lester near the top. That is a real good one-two punch.
The middle featuring Hendricks and Quintana makes for a solid and durable middle of the pack with pitchers who have the capability of being high in the rotation guys. Don’t let Quintana’s White Sox numbers from last year fool you, his numbers with the Cubs were very good and had a career-high K rate. Having a pitcher like Quintana at the four spot shows how stacked this rotation is. As for Hendricks, he was hurt for a bit last year, but after he returned he looked like himself. He was trusted as the opening NLDS starter and excelled in that game one start.
Again, this can be played with a little bit. Darvish can be moved to the very top with Lester moving a spot down. One thing is for sure, Chatwood will be the number five and Yu Darvish should at least be in a top-three spot in the rotation. This is something to be very excited about if you are a Cubs fan.