Jhoulys Chacin: Future’s Game Pitch f/x

Yesterday, Evan Brunell looked at the Rockies recent bullpen upgrades. In addition to trading for Rafael Betancourt of the Indians, they also brought up top pitching prospect Jhoulys Chacin to pitch out the pen.

Chacin was having a solid year in Double A at age 21, putting up a 2.46 K:BB ratio and a 4.02 FIP; however, thanks to a deflated ERA of 3.14, he was selected to pitch in the Future’s Game. That’s good news for us, as MLB recorded Pitch f/x data for that game. Chacin wasn’t the only one who pitched in that game, and you can see Pitch f/x looks at some other prospects here and here; however, today we’ll focus on him.

He pitched one shutout inning, while striking out two batters and walking one without giving up a hit. He threw 16 pitches, and it appears that 8 of them were fastballs, 4 of them were curveballs and 4 were changeups. Keeping in mind that this is not necessarily a representation of his true ability, let’s see how his stuff looked through the eyes of a computer:


His changeup looks like a pretty interesting pitch. Without the late bit of tail, you could easily classify it as a slider; however, it’s movement and spin more resemble that of a change. The speed differential with it and the fastball isn’t great, but the flight pattern of both of the pitches are so dissimilar, that it should make for a nice out pitch. His curve doesn’t have have a lot of movement, really following a similar path to the fastball, with a slight bump to it. His fastball has some decent sink to it, but is otherwise pretty straight.

Given the small sample of pitches, there is not a lot of conclusions to be made from his Pitch f/x data. His stuff reminds me a little of Jair Jurrjens, but that’s just my opinion. As to how he’ll do in Colorado? Well, he’s 21 and has a career 3.65 FIP and a 3.00 K:BB ratio in the minors. He also has a career 60% groundball rate, which is a very good sign given that he will be pitching half of his games in the spacious Coors Field. He looks to be a very solid prospect, who, due to his ability to command the strikezone and keep the ball on the ground, should good success out of the pen this year.

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Harry Pavlidis
Harry Pavlidis

I agree, he’s a sinker-baller (his fastballs are a split of a four- and two-seam variety; he threw four of each of his four pitches during his 16-pitch inning)

Here’s how I classified Chacin’s pitches from that game
Change   85.9
Curveball   81.7
Sinker   91.6
Fastball 94.0

The speeds vary not just from the way I split the pitches, but the move back to y0=55ft.

In any case, his four-seam fastball is faster than Gameday indicates, and the curve is slurvey.

Nick Steiner
Nick Steiner

Good info Harry, thanks.  I’m still having trouble breaking up fastballs, although I should have been tipped off when I saw his GB rate.  I’ll fix the flight paths in a little bit.  BTW, when is that BtB pitch classification tutorial going up?

Harry Pavlidis
Harry Pavlidis

Hopefully next week. I’m behind on stuff, though, so we’ll see. The day job is keeping me more than busy lately.

You can easily split Chacin’s fastballs (FF in gameday) into the two groupings – the four highest spin directions are the sinkers, and the most negative pfx_x and the slowest speed. Pretty distinct grin