Despite consistently posting sub-.250 wOBA’s for most of his career with his curveball, Chacin dramatically reduced its usage in 2018 before all but abandoning it 2019. It averaged just 77 mph with above-average break and below-average drop.
The velocity drop Chacin experienced with his fastballs in 2018 stuck in 2019, with both his four-seamer and his sinker averaging just 90 mph. The four-seamer got rocked to the tune of a 252 WRC+, generating neither whiffs nor swings outside the zone.
Chacin has thrown his cutter more than 100 times just once in his career, when it registered a -6.8 pVAL. He used it just nine times in 2019, and its average velocity hit just 87.4 mph en route to a 14.3% SwStr rate.
His most-used fastball since 2015, Chacin reduced its usage starting in 2018 and now uses it less than his slider. Like his four-seamer, its velocity has been around 90 mph both years, and the results last year were a pVAL of -15.9, though only a 192 WRC+ compared to the four-seamer. It garnered swinging strikes just 4.4% of the time.
Given his poor fastball, it is no surprise that Chacin has moved to make his slider his primary pitch. It registered pVAL scores above 20 in both 2017 and 2018 before its 7.9 in 2019, bolstered by its 10.8% SwSt rate and 35.2% O-Swing. Its elite break keeps it viable in the zone, where he has used it around 48% of the time over the past three years.
A truly spectacular pitch to behold, Chacin’s primary pitch generated a fantastic 25.9 pVal. Just watch it. It tunnels really nicely with his fastball and has great vertical break, which led to the great 23.2 K-BB%, while only surrendering a .149 AVG, .114 ISO, and 40 wRC+.
This was not a great pitch for Chacin in 2018; his two-seamer put up a brutal -5.8 pVal. Some control problems (-0.2 K-BB%) clearly limited the pitch’s effectiveness. It surrendered a .275 AVG and a 120 wRC+ while the BABIP was down from 2017, indicating that it could have been worse.
For all the (well deserved) attention given to Chacin’s slider, his fastball made huge improvements in 2018, gaining nearly 5.7 runs in pVal. It also experienced a huge drop in AVG, from .353 in 2017 to .258 in 2018, with a consistent BABIP that indicated it might be a genuine improvement.
A negative pitch for Chacin in 2018 (-1.1 pVal), this pitch still had some signs of effectiveness that clashed with its overall value. While it gave up a .269 AVG and 16.7 HR/FB% it only had a .115 ISO, an 87 wRC+, and a 52.2 GB%.
Thrown only 67 times in 2018, it got hit pretty hard, giving up a .375 AVG, .375 ISO, and 211 ISO. It lost about 0.5 mph in velocity and had its overall movement cut in half, becoming a much straighter pitch in 2018.