Scouting Angels-Rockies

Updated: March 10, 2011, 9:19 AM ET
By Keith Law

My second appearance on the ESPN Baseball Today podcast was posted on Wednesday afternoon. Starting on Tuesday, March 15th, I'll appear with co-host Eric Karabell three days a week.


Jhoulys Chacin was a key part of why the Rockies stayed in the NL West race as long as they did last year, putting up a 3.28 ERA in 137 innings, and pitching even better (2.98 ERA) as a starter. There's some flukishness in those numbers -- he had a high line-drive rate last year, over 21 percent, but didn't give up as many hits as you'd expect based on that percentage -- but he does have the command and repertoire to settle in as a third or fourth starter for Colorado going forward.

On Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium, Chacin showed a four-seamer at 90-92 MPH and used it heavily until he started mixing in other pitches one by one in the second inning, showing a two-plane curveball at 74-78 (although you can pick up its rotation somewhat early), a two-seamer at 87-89, and a changeup that looks just like his fastball coming out of his hand. Unfortunately he didn't have his usual fastball command on Tuesday, but it helps that he can compensate with one of the other offerings. The knock on Chacin is that he doesn't have a legitimate knockout pitch, four good pitches but nothing plus; when he's on, he'll use the fastball to set up the other offerings, and that certainly worked for him last year. On days where his fastball command is shaky, though, he lacks a good fallback option, and I think the line drive rate reflects the fact that hitters can square up his four-seamer pretty well.