Milwaukee Brewers: Grading Jhoulys Chacin’s 2018 Season
By Matt Yeazel
The Milwaukee Brewers signed starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin in the offseason, and many people either didn’t like the move or saw him as a fringe rotation/bullpen guy. Chacin turned out to be so much more than that.
We continue our series giving grades to members of the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers based on their performances. Now it’s time to take a look at Jhoulys Chacin’s season.
Regular Season Grade: B+
Chacin was the only pitcher that was in the rotation from the start of the year all the way through the postseason, and with that, he was just 7.1 innings short of the 200 innings mark. In those innings, he had 156 strikeouts, a 1.163 WHIP, 3.50 ERA, and a 2.2 WAR.
The start of the season was not great for Chacin, and it made many Brewer fans question whether or not he was a good signing, and if he should be in the rotation. The fact that he came onto a new team with high expectations, struggled early, and then went on to pitch well for the whole rest of the season says a lot about him.
Chacin is a very creative pitcher on the mound, and he used that to throw off hitters all season. Even when he was doing well he would sometimes be worrisome to watch due to him serving up sliders that looked to be right over the plate. However, most of the time those sliders would be missed due to him throwing hitters off with his timing and his motion.
Speaking of that slider, it’s nasty. For evidence of this, go onto the “PitchingNinja” Twitter account and search Jhoulys Chacin, he has plenty of GIFs of Chacin’s big sweeping slider, as well as a pitch that moves the opposite direction, his 2-seamer, which can be very nasty in its own right.
In the regular season, Chacin came through with many big performances, including pitching well in Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, Busch Stadium and more. He was a fairly consistent pitcher after the first month, and considering the rest of the rotation, his addition was one of the biggest keys to this team’s run to the division title.
The impact of having a starter stay in the rotation and healthy throughout an entire season in this day and age cannot be understated, especially on a team like the Brewers who did not have very good starting pitching for most of the year and had to get a lot of innings from their bullpen.
Postseason Grade: A-
Chacin in the postseason was fantastic, despite it ending on a rough note. He had three postseason starts in addition to the tiebreaker game start at Wrigley Field.
Yes, the tiebreaker game is technically a regular season game, but the mindset is that it’s a playoff game on the road against your rival, and Chacin stepped up and pitched five innings with just one run, getting the victory as well.
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Five innings would become a trend for Chacin as he went on to pitch five shutout in Game Two of the NLDS against Colorado, and five shutout in Game Three in Los Angeles in the NLCS. He gave up a combined six hits in those two starts along with nine strikeouts.
With the way the Brewers were using their bullpen in the playoffs, Chacin’s five-inning starts were huge for this team. No other starter in the Brewers rotation was able to eat up that many innings like Chacin did, the only other one that was close in terms of innings in a single game was Brandon Woodruff, who should be back in the rotation next season.
However, Chacin did not come through when it mattered the most, in Game Seven of the NLCS against the Dodgers. With a home game, and the Brewers obvious best starter on the mound, and a rested bullpen, most people thought the Brewers would be in a good spot on the pitching end, but that wasn’t the case.
Chacin went just two innings, giving up a walk and three hits including a two-run moonshot off the bat of Cody Bellinger. In a game that isn’t Game Seven, Chacin would have definitely stayed in the game to pitch longer, but with the bullpen the Brewers have, Counsell, pulled the trigger and ended Chacin’s night after just those two innings.
Chacin could’ve worked beyond the two innings and ended up having a more respectable start of four or five innings and just those two runs, but that’s not what happened, and based on how he looked in those two innings, I think most people agreed with the decision to take him out.
He had a great playoff run, and Game Seven doesn’t change that. He was much better than expected when he has signed this offseason, and without him, this team is not in the spot that they ended up in, and there are a lot more questions surrounding the team and its rotation.
Overall Grade: A-
If Chacin can continue to be a consistent, solid pitcher for the Brewers next year, it will be huge considering that the rotation should be much improved with the likes of Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff joining the group at the start of the year.