Darvish this year is dangerous because of this? Will Kim Ha-seong be able to save him?
Darvish Yu (37‧ San Diego), whose ERA fluctuated repeatedly during the season, pitched 194⅔ innings in 30 games last year and announced another rejuvenation with a good record of 16 wins and 8 losses with an ERA of 3.10.
Digesting more than 190 innings was the first time in 9 years since 2013, and recording an ERA of 3.10 or less in 162 games was also the first time in 8 years since 2014. Then, San Diego handed Darvish a six-year contract worth 108 million dollars (about 144.8 billion won) until 2028. There was a risk because it was a contract that continued into his 40s, but it was possible because he had a strong belief that Darvish could play an active role at the top level for the time being.
One driving force behind Darvish’s good performance last year was his effective left-handed opponents. His performance against left-handed batters, which ordinary right-handers struggle with, was very good. Last year, Darvish had a batting average of 0.233 against right-handed hitters and an OPS (on-base percentage + batting average) of 0.646. This is also an excellent figure. However, the batting average against left-handed batters was 0.185 and the OPS was 0.538, which was rather low.
However, there were concerns that this figure would be reversed this season, and although it is early in the season, such an aspect appears. In the first five appearances of the season, the batting average against right-handed batters was still low at 0.143, while the batting average against left-handed hitters jumped to 0.286 and POPS to 0.810.
The reason for the concern was the ‘restriction on defensive shift’. The major leagues have overhauled the defensive shift that has been dizzy since this year. There must be two defenders on either side of second base. It has become impossible to build a dense defender on the right as before to catch a left-handed hitter. Darvish was a representative pitcher expected to be penalized by this shift restriction in several statistics.
Last year, against Darvish, left-handed batters hit shifts a total of 78 times. The San Diego defense made 61 out counts. As a percentage, it took 78%. This was the second highest figure after Tony Gonsolin (LA Dodgers, 80%) in the major leagues.
Of the 78 batted balls, there were 20 line drive balls with a high probability of becoming hits, and 9 of these, 45%, were also shifted. This ratio was also one of the highest in the league. There were 40 ground balls, but the San Diego defense team caught a whopping 37 (90%) and supported Darvish reliably.
In other words, Darvish was obviously a player who was helped by the shift against left-handed hitters, and the strong San Diego infield was well supporting Darvish. In the absence of that shift, the key was whether Darvish could maintain OPS against left-handed hitters. But early in the season, signs are looming that this will be difficult. This is similar to other San Diego pitchers, including Joe Musglove, to varying degrees.스포츠토토
Although there are still more samples to be accumulated, Darvish has a figure that the ratio of hits to the opposite direction of right-handed hitters, that is, to second base, has increased significantly compared to last year. This hints that the defense portion of second baseman Kim Ha-seong (28) will increase every time Darvish starts.
Darvish is still managing his exit velocity very well, but his shift isn’t going to go back to what it used to be. It can be inferred that in the future, second basemen will be busier. On the contrary, it is possible to predict that Darvish can benefit from Kim Ha-seong, who has the highest level of defense at second baseman.