So how good has Jhoulys Chacin been this season? We've seen him already show an ability to get a K to get out of tight spots, yesterday he showed he can also get opposing batters to do the work for him. He hasn't allowed a home run since July 17 in Cincinnati. He's adapted and adjusted to his opponents. His prior start in Dodger Stadium, he walked five and allowed a patient Los Angeles team to rack up the same amount of runs off him. Yesterday, he never left the strike zone, defying the Dodgers to make good contact. For the most part, they didn't. Walk five, give up five runs, next time out, walk none, give up zero runs.
The advanced metrics mostly like him (I'm going to go through a few here and not describe them, if this stuff confuses you, just skip to the end of the paragraph.) He's among the top 30 MLB starters in WAR value both at FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference, his FIP is tied with rotation mate Jason Hammel at 24th among starters with over 100 IP. Unfortunately, tERA isn't quite as friendly, due to a higher than average line drive rate (Chacin has the 4th highest LD% in the MLB) but relatively low BABIP. Frankly, this tempers my expectations for him too, as it's difficult to see a pitcher who gives up a quarter of all contact as line drives (which is what Chacin has done for the last month and a half) continuing to have as much success as he's had. I think until that LD% either goes down, or we get enough of a sample to know that Chacin isn't just getting lucky with it, we ought not to think of him as quite in the same tier as Jorge De La Rosa or Jason Hammel.
Given his ability think on the mound, to adapt and adjust to his opposition, I'm fairly confident that Chacin will continue to find ways of being successful. The bottom line is that whether he continues his success or not, Chacin has been a needed value for the Rockies this year, and the equivalent of a mid-season trade for a top of the rotation pitcher.
I hate stories like the following linked Neil Payne post that delve into hypothetical what-if scenarios. My main issue is that if you allow any team a hypothetical do-over at the beginning of the season, you have to allow every team a do-over for a fair analysis -and nobody ever does- and then my secondary issue is that all sorts of unexpected stuff that happened during that time period but normally wouldn't would get butterflied out of existence in the alternate timeline. For example, you can give the Giants Buster Posey all season as their do-over, but to be fair to the Rockies and Padres, you have to give them mulligans too, and given how well he's pitched, and how poorly Greg Smith fared for us early in the year, Chacin would seemingly keep the Rockies pace with a non-Molina impaired Giants team.
Would Troy Tulowitzki be the MVP if he hadn't broken his wrist earlier in the season? Well if we look at the pace he was hitting in June.., oh.., wait.., erm...
Links after the jump...
Octavio Dotel adds experience to the Rockies bullpen - Nobody outside of Colorado seems to notice that the Rockies play with a serious handicap when it comes to their bullpen because of the altitude, as no other contending club seems so desperate to add pitchers down the stretch as we do.
The Rockies wouldn't have to look outside for help if Franklin Morales was who he could be/could have been rather than who he currently is (one of the notes here.) He's not making it a difficult decision for the Rockies to keep him or not during the off season.
Oh, and yeah, I almost forgot, we're one game behind.
There's been lots of love for the Rockies at ESPN in the last day or two, and a few of the analysts I called out a little while back, including Jayson Stark and Dave Cameron have come back and taken notice of the Rockies pitching.
Meanwhile, Tom Verducci makes it sound like the Rockies play 121 games at home, as he counts Arizona and California as part of our territory. Yeah.., uhm.., sure.., we own the West Coast. Also notice how he conveniently forgets to bring up that the Rockies lead the majors in pitcher's road average against or OPS allowed. So while a couple of writers are now off the hook for the double standard, Verducci's added his name.