That is not a headline you expected to read this spring, I am certain.
Blood types are more commonly talked about in Japanese culture but even with that knowledge, Darvish isn’t exactly sure how he came about this unique ability. It’s just something he can do.
”It’s what I might use in casual conversation,” Darvish explained recently at Cubs camp. “Like [catcher] Victor Caratini might walk by and we’ll carry on the conversation.” And from that conversation, Darvish can guess his blood type. He explains:
”So there is Type A. That person is organized. Type B isn’t exactly selfish but he goes his own way. Type O is laid back, a ‘whatever happens’ type of guy. AB is weird or different.”
Well, at least it’s a different topic than talking about the coronavirus. It’s what we might have called a “parlor trick” in old-fashioned American colloquialism, but Darvish was apparently serious. Here’s what he said about Tyler Chatwood:
“Hmmm, Chatwood,” Darvish says in deep thought. “He’s a Type B or O. ... He’s kind of too himself but also laid back.”
In fact, Chatwood is Type O blood. He was one of the few Cubs who knew his own blood type. We’ll give Darvish credit for that one.
And Kyle Hendricks?
“I talk to Kyle Hendricks a lot,” Darvish said. “He’s definitely a Type A. He’s organized. A lot of Japanese players are Type A as well. It’s really about how they carry a conversation. I know Kyle because we have many conversations.”
Rogers’ article doesn’t say what Hendricks’ blood type is. But if blood types match personalities, perhaps Darvish is correct about The Professor.
Fun, if ultimately meaningless.
More meaningful for Darvish is this ranking of 2020 Cy Young candidates by Will Leitch and Mike Petriello at MLB.com. The ranking lists pitchers from both leagues, and has Darvish eighth — but fifth among N.L. pitchers, behind Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Jack Flaherty. Here’s what Petriello wrote about Darvish:
Well look, if we’re into the “insanely good second half” portion of the show, then I will happily snatch up Darvish, who shook off a rough Chicago debut to just go nuts over the season’s final four months — in his final 18 starts, he struck out 151 and walked 12. 151 to 12. Unlike Flaherty, Darvish has some track record to fall back upon here, like the four All-Star appearances, like the Cy Young votes in 2012 and ‘13. Did you know he has the second-best strikeout rate (29.8%) of any pitcher (minimum 1,000 innings) in history? Did you also know that he deserves to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer just for doing things like throwing sliders left-handed and throwing 10 different pitch types and, most of all, being the only good person on Twitter? Do those things matter in Cy Young Awards? Of course not! But they do to me.
Darvish finished second in American League Cy Young voting in 2013, when he posted a 2.83 ERA and 1.073 WHIP and led the major leagues in strikeouts with 277. Darvish struck out 118 in 13 second-half starts last year, a K rate of 13 (!) per nine innings. In his second-place Cy Young season, his K rate was 11.9, which also led the majors that year.
So there’s no question that if Darvish can continue his production from that “insanely good second half” in 2019, he could absolutely be a Cy Young candidate. He’s thrown well in spring training thus far, small sample size, of course.
And if Darvish pitches like that, the Chicago Cubs are likely headed back to the postseason. With teammates of all different blood types.