08 November 2017

A Tale of Two Chatwoods

Tyler Chatwood is an interesting player and one that has been contemplated by other sites, including here and Camden Chat.  However, I want to tease out some things.  First, I want to visit BORAS (pi) 1.3, our site's most recent version of contract prediction for free agent pitchers.  It pegged a new Chatwood deal as being in the neighborhood of 4/41.9.  This is a much higher value than what was put forth recently by MLB Trade Rumors: 3/20.  At that price, I think Chatwood would be a no brainer because of how interesting his performance has been these past two years at Coors (6.07 ERA, 148.1 IP) and away from Coors (2.57 ERA, 157.1 IP).

This presents a very drastic difference in production and almost as he was indeed two different pitchers (more on that later).  How would all three of these pitchers compare under the BORAS model if they spent a whole year at home or away?
4 years, 41.9 MM (actual)
Minor League Deal (home projected)
6 years, 146.6 MM (road projected)
It is rather a stunning difference and when we see something like this, we want to ask why?

          4S           2S         CH          Sl           CU
Home 40% 23% 4% 23% 10%
Road 28% 35% 5% 19% 13%

You can see his approach changes when he goes out on the road.  On the road, Chatwood relies more on his pitches with movement.  He leans on a sinker and curve a bit more and moves away from the four seamer and slider.  Why?  Because, depending on where he is, he has to use what works best.  At Coors, what works best is his fastball.  On the road, the fastball still works, but he gets more movement out of his other offerings.  He turns to his sinker, which sinks more. He goes with a slower breaking ball because it breaks more.
Horizontal Movement
     Home       Road          Diff
4S -1.8 -1.5 0.3
2S -5.7 -6.9 1.2
CH -2.9 -4.7 1.8
SL 0.6 1.5 0.9
CU 3.0 4.3 1.3
Vertical Movement
     Home       Road          Diff
4S 8.7 9.6 1.1
2S 7.7 7.6 0.1
CH 5.2 4.4 0.8
SL 3.1 2.6 0.5
CU -5 -9.2 4.2
Although Chatwood has been termed a sinker ball pitcher outside of Coors Field, that is a bit of a misreading of the numbers.  While his flat fastball gets flatter away from his current him and his sinker runs a bit more, what really changes is the run and depth of his breaking ball.  His breaking ball goes from being a show me pitch in Coors to something with pretty damaging potential away.

It would be interesting to see how Chatwood is able to adapt with having a fairly consistent collection of pitches instead of having to deal with the differences Coors offers on a regular basis.  Can he be that 24 MM arm?  Does a more stabilized pitch set also means a more readily prepared batter?  What he has accomplished on the road has been remarkable these past two years and there is good reason to believe that his pitches support that potential.  While much attention has been handed to Alex Cobb, Chatwood might well be the real star here.


dpsmith22 said...

Thanks for the stats. I am very high on Chatwood as well. Although they haven't signed anyone, it makes me shake my head in wonder, when I hear names like Cashner and Vargas being thrown around. Does Duquette and the rest of the front office even watch baseball? I hear they are big into sabermetrics, but you could not convince me of that. The signings of Gallardo and Jimenez proved that.

Unknown said...

Better than Cashner or Vargas.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

Do trading for Brach and Trumbo, signing Cruz, Castillo, Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and several other solid moves also mean Duquette and the rest of the front office don't watch baseball?

No one would say this front office has been perfect. I'd say they've been above average for what they've had to work with. Signing starting pitchers is risky enough, and ownership doesn't allow Duquette to go after the big fish. I'm not saying you should feel sorry for them; I'm saying they have a difficult job. This foolishness of ignoring the good just because there's bad too doesn't help anything.

Pip said...

Matt, although I don't disagree with you and never have, it's important to put things in perspective.
Brach was a lucky result, the kind of insignificant trades GM's make all the time. They are gambles, and if one of them works it's not skill, it's just a lottery ticket that paid off. Asher, Aquino, Liranzo and others were the same gambles that haven't paid off. No shame in them either way, but no skill either.
Cruz was going to sign with the Mariners and Dan grabbed him when the deal fell through. That was a lucky break.
But then Dan let Cruz go. THAT was bad judgement. Trading for Trumbo was fine, but ALSO signing Alvarez and forcing Trumbo into the field was bad judgement Gallardo and Ubaldo and Miley were terrible judgement before the deals were made. We were even worried that Miley's option might get picked up because Dan does such things. We wouldn't have worried if Dan had a better track record.
Re-Signing Trumbo was bad judgement. Releasing Gonzo was bad judgement. Considering bringing him BACK now is also bad judgement, because he's two years older.
It's important to acknowledge the good but it's also important to admit the bad and the lucky, and Dan has a lot of both.
If you think he's going to make well-thought out acquisitions, I would respectfully suggest that there's a lot of reasons to fear otherwise.

vilnius b. said...

There's a little problem with the stats you listed for Chatwood: you say he leans on his sinker more on the road than he did in Coors. But the numbers listed say he threw his sinker 23% of the time in Coors Field and only 19% on the road.
I assume that's an oversight and you meant the opposite.
Nevertheless, given his heavy GB% the last two years, if the Orioles can get him for ~4/40, IMO that would be a great signing.
Certainly better than Cashner or Vargas (as Elisabeth Hill said).

Jon Shepherd said...

2 seamer and sinker are used synonymously. That Sl is a lowercase L (typo) not an uppercase i.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I think there's a lot of revisionism going on with Duquette's moves. Yes, it's easy to look back now at a lot of them and wonder why they didn't do the opposite thing. Cruz was far from a slam dunk, and even when the O's signed him for one year, it was a little risky. Committing four years to someone with as many red flags as he had? The Mariners didn't have a ton of competition at the terms they offered. It looks great for them now, and Cruz has been fantastic. But that wasn't some sure-thing move.

Anyway, I'm not going to argue about every signing or trade. I didn't like the roster construction last season, and I've disagreed with a bunch of moves Duquette has made. I don't know if they are going to make great moves this offseason, but I also wonder what Duquette would do if he didn't have to work under the restrictions O's ownership typically has for starting pitching signings.

I'm all for mentioning the bad with the good, and if you don't like Duquette, that's fine.

Anonymous said...

Now that you put it this way Chatwood seems to have potential. I still like Cobb and I'm sure other teams have read the same statistics you're reading on Chatwood. But it makes me more comofrtable now if the O's went that direction. He also happens to be about the youngest guy out there, too, and that's a big plus.

vilnius b. said...

Sorry for that mistake, Jon.
But aren't sinkers and two seamers two very different pitches?
There was a guy in one of my fantasy baseball leagues who was a college pitcher 10 years ago. He would explain to me the different grips used for various pitches.
IIRC, he said the grips used for sinkers were different from the grips for two seam fastballs.
I guess I'll have to double-check with him again.
Anyway, an interesting column.

Jon Shepherd said...

There are several grips for the same "pitch". What is described above is the "pitch" not the grip, so in other words the movement.

If I did this by grip then you would have dozens of potential column headers and it would be pretty difficult to compare pitchers. Plus, you have to suss out grips. Therefore, we all tend to stick to movemention based designations whenever you see this stuff reported in data science work.

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