The Rockies announced Thursday that they’ve released veteran right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. A corresponding transaction was not announced, but Chacin had been on the 28-man roster, so the Rox will bring someone to the big league squad tomorrow, following Thursday’s off-day. Colorado’s 40-man roster now sits at 39 players.
Originally signed and developed by the Rockies, Chacin returned to Colorado in 2021, seeking a rebound after a poor 2019-20 showing. He enjoyed a solid enough year out of the Colorado ’pen, logging 64 1/3 innings of 4.34 ERA ball but with sub-par strikeout and walk rates (17.5% and 10.4%, respectively). Chacin did induce plenty of weak contact, but he rarely caused hitters to swing and miss or even chase pitches off the plate — all while benefiting from a .242 average on balls in play.
The Rox re-signed him to a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $1.25MM, and Chacin appeared in enough games to unlock an additional $125K bonus prior to today’s release. The results when he took the mound, however, weren’t pretty. In 47 1/3 frames, Chacin was torched for a 7.61 ERA. He managed to scale back his walk rate slightly, to 9.6%, but his strikeout rate also dipped half a percentage point, to 16.9%.
Chacin’s BABIP regressed toward his career .299 mark this season, clocking in at a slightly elevated .316 — due largely to the dramatic improvement of batted-ball quality from his opponents. The right-hander’s ground-ball rate fell by seven percentage points as hitters began to not only elevate the ball more frequently but do so with considerably more force. Chacin’s hard-hit rate jumped from 35.1% in 2021 to 41.5% this season, and his average exit velocity spiked from 86.4 mph to 89.7 mph.
It’s now been four mostly rough years since Chacin was last a quality big league hurler, but there’s definitely plenty of success on his track record. From 2010-18, Chacin racked up 1204 2/3 innings of 3.86 ERA ball, punching out 18.6% of his opponents against a 9.3% walk rate (with much of that performance coming at a time when strikeouts weren’t nearly as prevalent as they’ve been for the past few years).
Chacin was an above-average innings eater with the 2017 Padres and 2018 Brewers, topping 180 frames with a sub-4.00 ERA in each season. Fans can file this one away in their trivia bank: Chasin’s 2018 campaign with the Brewers might mark the last time you’ll ever see a traditional starting pitcher start 35 games in a season. He and David Price (2016) are the only two pitchers to accomplish that feat in the past decade.
Solid as his broader track record may be, it’s also been nearly a half decade since Chacin pitched near his peak level. He’ll probably garner some interest on a minor league deal over the winter, but he’ll quite likely have to compete for a job in Spring Training.