Los Angeles Angels’ Jhoulys Chacin has had a rough last three years. After going 14-10 for the Rockies in 2013 , Chacin had Tommy John Surgery & missing most of the 2014 & 2015 seasons. He is now healthy & the Angels are the beneficiary.
With the starting rotation depleted by injury, the Los Angeles Angels traded for Braves castoff Jhoulys Chacin on May 11, only giving up minor league reliever Adam McCreery.
Chacin was a highly regarded prospect coming up in the Rockies system, but has never truly lived up to the hype. He went 9-11, albeit with a 3.28 ERA, in his first full season in 2010. He led the NL in walks in 2011, dishing out 87 free passes. He had four more unremarkable seasons in Colorado, two of them cut short by shoulder and pectoral injuries.
After finishing 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA in 2014, the Rockies released him in March 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the Indians, but exercised an opt-out clause in his contract after making seven starts at Triple-A Columbus. He then signed another minor league deal, this time with the Diamondbacks, and made four big league starts at the end of the 2015 season.
Chacin started 2016 with the Braves, beginning the season at Triple-A Gwinnett and being promoted to the big leagues on April 12. Chacin made five starts with the Braves this season, and he certainly did not appear to be a viable trade candidate: he went 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. But there were underlying numbers that showed that he was pitching better than his results suggested:
Chacin struck out more than a batter per inning, striking out 27 in 26.2 innings, and his FIP was 3.93, meaning that he was pitching more than a run per game better than his ERA suggested. Most experts, myself included, felt that this was too little, too late to stop the rotation bleeding. But so far, he has proved us wrong.
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In his first start as an Angel, May 14, Chacin got a no decision, but he held the Mariners to two runs on five hits over seven innings while striking out four. He got another no decision in his second start with the team, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks in 4.1 innings to the Dodgers on May 19.
He took his first loss as an Angel on May 24 against the Rangers but pitched well enough to win, allowing three runs on five hits over six innings.
His most recent start, however, is what has Angel fans buzzing. In one of the best starts of his career, he tossed a complete game against the Tigers, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out 10.
Whether or not Chacin can continue his great run remains to be seen. His FIP is the lowest of his career, which is a good sign, although I’d like to see him cut down his walks (2.4 per nine innings this season combined between Atlanta and Anaheim) and keep the ball in the yard (six home runs allowed this season between the Braves and Angels). If he can do that, his acquisition will prove to be an absolute steal for an Angels team that desperately needed one.