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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Why the Cubs and Yankees Should Swap Tyler Chatwood and Sonny Gray

The biggest reason this perfectly reasonable idea wouldn’t happen is that Chatwood is guaranteed more money, but I like the idea behind it, at least:

Gray is still getting decent or better swinging-strike rates on his primary pitches. His velocity is pretty stable this year — and might actually be up a tick over last year — so there’s no obvious explanation for Gray’s struggles except for the change in approach he adopted when he came to New York. As for Chatwood, we knows he’s pitched poorly — and the pitch-value data suggests he’s struggled with his four-seamer and sinker more than other pitch by far. Yet those pitches also account for close to 60% of his offerings, with his changeup and curveball both in the single digits. The latter two pitches are actually above average on a rate basis, though. The whiff numbers on Chatwood’s secondaries are strong and, interestingly, Statcast suggests that Chatwood’s biggest control problems are on his four-seamer and sinker. He has better command, it seems, of his cutter, changeup, and curve.

Gray, in other words, would benefit by moving away from his secondary pitches, Chatwood by embracing them. Per Pitch Info, those two pitchers are on the worst teams for making those specific changes.

Cubs pitchers are throwing fewer secondaries than any other staff in the majors, the Yankees more of them. At some level, these figures are reliant on the actual personnel employed by the clubs. When the numbers are so divergent across an entire roster, however, it at least suggests the possibility of an organizational philosophy at work. By these numbers, Gray might benefit most from a move to Chicago, Chatwood from a move to New York.


 

 

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