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Yu Darvish’s slider might strike you out or seriously injure you. There is no in between.
Darvish is an incredibly interesting baseball mind. He’s constantly learning about his pitches, whether it be spin rate or velocity. Heck, Darvish even hit up Rob Friedman, aka Pitching Ninja, last season to learn more about Shane Bieber’s knuckle curve.
This is where Darvish got the idea for his slider. Bieber spikes the baseball with his knuckle, only further adding spin and causing the bottom to fall out on the pitch as it nears home plate. Darvish incorporated this idea….but with his slider.
The spike slider has far more velocity than Bieber’s curve, but applies similar spin and movement.
Yu Darvish is a student of the game, often learning pitches on the fly
Darvish even employs new pitches midseason, but refuses to debut them on the mound until they’re perfectly molded via bullpen sessions and video review. He typically gets the help of the bullpen catcher and coach to tweak said pitch until it’s perfect, and ready to strike out opposing hitters.
Now in San Diego, Darvish leads a Padres rotation which is as capable as any in the National league when healthy. Darvish finished second in NL Cy Young voting last season with the Chicago Cubs. With the Padres, and the sound run support they should provide on an ample basis, there’s no telling what his numbers might look like in 2021.