After three straight trips to the National League Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs have retooled their roster as they prepare for the 2018 season.
How He Got Here
During an offseason marked by how long it’s taking players to sign with teams, Tyler Chatwood signed relatively early with the Cubs, inking a three-year pact worth $38 million to pitch on the North Side.
What He Did in 2017
Chatwood had a rough 2017 season with the Rockies, posting a 4.69 ERA and an 8-15 record in 25 starts with the team. He did strike out 120 batters, but also walked 77 in just 147.2 innings of work.
What Does He Bring to the Table?
While a contract that pays Chatwood nearly $13 million may seem excessive, there are several things that the Cubs are banking on as they hope he will provide a steadying presence to the bottom portion of their rotation.
First and foremost, the Cubs are hoping that Chatwood’s successes away from Coors Field will translate into better overall numbers. Chatwood had an ERA of over six at the hitter-friendly ballpark last season, and was much better away from home, with a 3.49 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 77 innings.
Secondly, the Cubs are hoping that Chatwood can induce a good number of ground balls, thus taking advantage of the team’s strong infield defense. Chatwood had a 58.1 percent ground ball rate during the 2017 season, and with players like Javier Baez and Addison Russell patrolling the infield, that could translate into a lot of outs for the Cubs.
Our Prediction for 2018:
With Yu Darvish added to the mix, Chatwood will simply need to be solid in order to be an important piece of the Cubs’ rotation. That doesn’t seem like too much of a reach considering his skillset and statistics, so we’re looking for him to lock down that fourth or fifth starter’s spot.
The real question will be whether his road success will translate into better numbers now that he’s not pitching in Coors Field so often, and we’re going to guess that we’ll see a drop in his ERA as well.