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Article: Supplementing the Twins: Tyler Chatwood

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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:31 PM

Continuing on with the Supplementing the Twins series, it’s time to take a look at another pitcher. Last week, the subject was Lance Lynn, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals. There’s little doubt that starting pitching remains a key focus for the hometown nine, and identifying arms that are reasonable and can help the rotation is a must.As explained last week, it’s become a relative pipe dream for the Twins to acquire a starter in the vein of Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta. Yes, baseball is an uncapped sport in which clubs can spend to their heart’s content. That said, TV contracts being what they are, Minnesota isn’t best positioned to fight for free agents like that. Identifying outliers that have significant upside is a much smarter play. As the organization continues internal turnover among scouts and front office types, the belief behind identifying the right pieces should only grow.

If we are to assume that Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, and Kyle Gibson remain rotation locks for 2018, the final two spots could use a boost. While there are plenty of internal options to consider, the Twins wouldn’t be wrong to bring in some outside options. Lynn was the first on my list, and Chatwood checks in near the top as well.

A former 2nd round pick back in 2008, Chatwood will be 28 in 2018. He’s pitched in the Rockies organization since 2012, and has made 88 starts across 103 games in that timespan. Over his Rockies career, the numbers hardly jump off the page. He owned a 4.69 ERA in 2017, following up a 3.87 mark a season ago. The strikeout numbers are pedestrian, hovering right around 7.0 K/9, and he walks too many batters (4.0+ BB/9 over the past two years). So, those are the detractors, but there’s upside here too.

First off, Chatwood has velocity to his credit. Averaging a career best 95.3mph on his fastball in 2017, Chatwood has been right around a 94mph average for the entirety of his career. He throws a fastball, slider, sinker, and a curveball, while inducing a very good 58.1% ground ball rate. Hard contact is few and far between at just 23.5% the past season. Although Chatwood doesn’t induce a ton of swinging strikes (a career best 9.9% in 2017), he also gave up a career low 77.2% contact the past year.

I think the biggest draw to Chatwood going forward however, is simply getting him out of elevation. In 17 games during 2017 at Coors Field, Chatwood allowed an .884 OPS and posted a 6.01 ERA. On the road, he owned a 3.49 ERA and allowed just a .695 OPS. Over the course of his career, Chatwood has surrendered an .833 OPS across 254 innings at Coors Field. That results in an ugly 5.17 ERA. Given the sample size, there’s no stadium he’s been worse at save for his rookie year with the Angels.

Target Field is far from a pitcher’s paradise, and for a guy who’s posted three seasons with HR/0 marks over 1.0, he can still get bit with the Twins. That said the surface numbers aren’t indicative of the ability that could be there. Coming off what would be one of his worst seasons as a whole; Chatwood is going to have a tough time bargaining on the open market. That makes him a prime candidate for a team to exploit, and play the upside game.

As noted earlier, Minnesota isn’t going to be able to sustain success or grow this nucleus by handing out big money deals to a-list types. Derek Falvey was identified to lead the front office because of, in part, how he was able to identify talent that could be had within the Indians means. Tyler Chatwood doesn’t have to become the Twins version of Corey Kluber, but targeting upside that become more than rotational stopgaps is a must.

Through two players in the Supplementing the Twins series, we’ve got real names of pitchers that can help this organization. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare to the moves actually made. Check back next week for the next name on the list.

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- Ted Schwerzler
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#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:10 PM

I like the idea of Chatwood a lot more than Lynn. He's younger and won't cost as much. Huge advantages. He's not exactly Phil Hughes but the narrative about getting out of a certain park is the same. I think he could be a solid #4 type (a good thing). He'd still probably get 12m/year though.


#3 jorgenswest

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:29 PM

Earlier this year Chatwood and his change up made fangraph’s underthrown pitch series.

https://www.fangraph...-and-changeups/

The combination of leaving Coors and the possibility of better utilizing his pitch mix are intriguing.
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#4 beckmt

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:56 AM

I am good with this, would rather have Darvish, but Chatwood would be an upgrade on the backend of the rotation, and also keep us from having to rush the youngsters.Probably will be somewhere in the ballpark of 4/50 if not higher.This is doable.


#5 Tom Froemming

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 05:54 AM

This scares me:

 

2017 BB% (min 100 IP)

12.8 Wade Miley

12.5 Sean Newcomb

12.2 Tyler Chatwood

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#6 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 06:07 AM

I really think the Twins should stay away from calculated risk plays in FA.... Just go out and get a good pitcher. Bite the bullet and pay for it.

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#7 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 07:59 AM

 

This scares me:

 

2017 BB% (min 100 IP)

12.8 Wade Miley

12.5 Sean Newcomb

12.2 Tyler Chatwood

But we have a good pitch framer now ...

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#8 USAFChief

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:02 AM

 

I really think the Twins should stay away from calculated risk plays in FA.... Just go out and get a good pitcher. Bite the bullet and pay for it.

Concur.

 

I do not agree with the OP's position that A-list FA pitchers are "a pipe dream" for the Twins.

 

And to me, the risk associated with signing mid tier FAs is greater than the risk associated with signing top-of-the-line FAs.A Darvish might get hurt, but he will help the team win if he doesn't.A Chatwood might get hurt, and he also might not help the team win if he doesn't.

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I am not the paranoid you're looking for.


#9 Mike Sixel

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:02 AM

Why is he going to have a hard time bargaining, if the home/away splits are that large?

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#10 beckmt

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:08 AM

 

Why is he going to have a hard time bargaining, if the home/away splits are that large?

I think you just have to look at the away splits, you need to be a different type of pitcher at Coors field. 

Also Lucroy was one of the worst pitch framers this year.That also might be part of the reason.

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#11 srmcginnity

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:26 AM

In my opinion, this is the exact type of SP they should sign. He has upside. He'll come relatively cheap (for a SP) and could surprise with improved stats away from Coors. We aren't getting Darvish and honestly as much as I'd love Darvish, it's an extremely risky contract especially with all of the young kids needing contracts over the next few years. Regardless of anything in order to be successful as a small market team we'll need a Berrios, Romero, Gonsalves or Thorpe to become a stud #1. You aren't winning a WS without that happening anyway. What the Twins should do is get a #3 SP and if they need an ace at the deadline, you trade for one with our youth.

 

Or, you decide to trade some youth this offseason (Kepler, Gordon, Romero, Gonsalves, Rooker etc.) for an ace and/or #1 pitcher. The Twins will most likely never do a 6-7 year contract with a SP and honestly, I don't know if they ever should unless a in-house guy becomes a Kershaw/Verlander type.


#12 Cory Engelhardt

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:34 AM

Just curious; is walk rate that pitchers can get better at? If the Twins were to sign someone like Chatwood (his numbers outside of Coors, other than walks, do look promising, and I fully believe the Twins outfield defense would help his overall numbers) is there any real hope that his walk rate would decline as well? That many walks, to me, screams a lot of 5 inning starts.

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#13 srmcginnity

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:49 AM

 

Just curious; is walk rate that pitchers can get better at? If the Twins were to sign someone like Chatwood (his numbers outside of Coors, other than walks, do look promising, and I fully believe the Twins outfield defense would help his overall numbers) is there any real hope that his walk rate would decline as well? That many walks, to me, screams a lot of 5 inning starts.

 

It's a great point. I mean, for the pitchers that the Twins can afford and get there's going to be a level of risk and I'd prefer walks as the risk as opposed to hits and/or homeruns (see Santiago, Hector).

 

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#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:54 AM

 

Concur.

 

I do not agree with the OP's position that A-list FA pitchers are "a pipe dream" for the Twins.

 

And to me, the risk associated with signing mid tier FAs is greater than the risk associated with signing top-of-the-line FAs.A Darvish might get hurt, but he will help the team win if he doesn't.A Chatwood might get hurt, and he also might not help the team win if he doesn't.

I'm not sure that you're second assumption is right. Yes, I think you're (generally) right about a guy like Darvish helping if he's not hurt and a Chatwood might not help even if healthy but you are way underrating the longterm harm the Twins would face if a Darvish contract blows up on them the way Hughes' contract did. What if Darvish gets his 7/175m contract and busts after year two? The Twins owe him 125m more yet get nothing out of that? Every year they hope that they can get some good starts out of him only to send him out for a Phil Huges-like run and then return him to the DL? He'll take away starts from young guys and he'll be worth negative WAR but because we still owe him that money, he'll get his chances.That would be a much bigger problem than if Chatwood's 4y/48m deal doesn't work.


#15 Thrylos

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:08 AM

If they Twins wanted players to compliment a good rotation, Chatwood (and Lynn) would be very good targets.They need 2 pitchers on top of their rotation to compete in the post season.

Chatwood and Lynn are not that.

 

Enough with the Ryan era getting3 mediocre pitchers and see if one has a career year and extend him nonsense.

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#16 USAFChief

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:16 AM

If they Twins wanted players to compliment a good rotation, Chatwood (and Lynn) would be very good targets. They need 2 pitchers on top of their rotation to compete in the post season.
Chatwood and Lynn are not that.

Enough with the Ryan era getting3 mediocre pitchers and see if one has a career year and extend him nonsense.


Or even Chatwood in addition to a legitimate top of the rotation starter.

But as the centerpiece of a rotation fix? Fail.

I am not the paranoid you're looking for.


#17 Mike Sixel

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:21 AM

 

If they Twins wanted players to compliment a good rotation, Chatwood (and Lynn) would be very good targets.They need 2 pitchers on top of their rotation to compete in the post season.

Chatwood and Lynn are not that.

 

Enough with the Ryan era getting3 mediocre pitchers and see if one has a career year and extend him nonsense.

 

What's your realistic suggestion, then? Because they are not winning the Darvish bidding war. 

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#18 Tom Froemming

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:38 AM

Good points about catching. Chatwood's called strike percentage heatmap looks considerably worse than Ervin Santana'sJose Berrios' or Kyle Gibson's.

 

That's not 100 percent on the catcher, as we saw in the Wild Card game if a pitcher misses his spot badly a strike can often get called a ball, but by comparing those heatmaps I'd be willing to bargain Chatwood would have a nice boost in called strikes throwing to Castro.

 

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#19 Thrylos

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 11:34 AM

 

What's your realistic suggestion, then? Because they are not winning the Darvish bidding war. 

 

Trades.

 

Go after two of:Jacob deGrom, Jimmy Nelson or Chase Anderson, Alex Wood, Zack Godley,(or someone at that level and age) and call it a day.

 

Dozier, Santana, Kepler, Garver, Vargas, Gibson, and every minor leaguer not named Romero, Jay, or Javier, or drafted in 2017, should be in play.

Edited by Thrylos, 20 October 2017 - 11:37 AM.

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#20 DocBauer

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:13 PM

I think I still like Lynn better overall, though he's a couple years older and would be more expensive probably. I think he'll be just that much stronger next season, further removed from surgery.

Can't say I hate the Chatwood idea though. Good velocity, relatively young, solid numbers away from Coors Field, and with a new team and pitching coach, may have more upside.

Still have a soft spot for Arietta.

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