Pittsburgh Pirates free agent target: Tyler Chatwood

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Tyler Chatwood /

It would benefit the Pittsburgh Pirates to add to their starting rotation this offseason. This could be done via trade or free agency. A potential free agent target that would fit in Pittsburgh is Tyler Chatwood.

Free agency is officially underway in Major League Baseball. While no signings have occurred yet this will soon start to change, especially with Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings looming in two weeks.

This offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates have their fair share of needs to address. Third base, the bullpen, back up catcher, and the starting rotation are all areas the Pirates need an upgrade. A potential free agent starting pitcher that can help the Pirates in 2018 is Tyler Chatwood.

The 27-year-old Tyler Chatwood has spent the past five seasons as a member of the Colorado Rockies. This came after the right-handed pitcher made his Major League debut in 2011 as a member of the Anaheim Angels, the team that selected him in the second round of the June Amateur Draft in 2008.

During the 2017 season Tyler Chatwood made 25 starts for the Colorado Rockies and pitched in 33 games. In 147 2/3 innings pitched he allowed just 136 hits, however, was plagued by the home run ball allowing 20 long balls (1.22 HR/9). He also had control issues averaging 4.69 BB/9.

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Chatwood averaged 7.31 K/9, owned a robust 58.1 percent groundball rate last season, and he held opposing batters to just a 29.1 percent hard contact rate. He finished the season with a 4.69 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 4.27 xFIP, and a 1.1 fWAR.

Throughout his Major League career Tyler Chatwood has been a groundball pitcher which is something Ray Searage and the Pirates love. His career groundball rate is 54.7 percent, and it has been at least 56 percent in each season of his career minus his 2011 rookie campaign (47.0 percent) and 2014 (45.7 percent).

Throughout his career Chatwood’s biggest problem has been the long ball. A lot of this is due to Chatwood having to pitch his home games at Coors Field since 2012. Since being traded to Colorado, Chatwood has allowed 53 home runs in 505 2/3 inning pitched (0.94 HR/9).

Of the 53 home runs Chatwood has allowed since 2012, 42 of them have come at Coors Field. This explains why a groundball pitcher like Chatwood has been plagued by home run troubles in recent seasons.

Since joining the Rockies Chatwood owns a 4.18 ERA and a 4.29 xFIP. While these numbers are not great, they are that of a solid back of the rotation arm. Also, a move from Coors Field to pitcher friendly PNC Park would, in theory at least,  be a big boost for Chatwood.

The other elephant in the room with Tyler Chatwood is his control. His lifetime walk rate of 4.17 BB/9 is simply far too high. However, Ray Searage has helped countless pitchers fix their control issues over the years. Just ask Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, or Jason Grilli, to name a few. This should create confidence that Uncle Ray could do it with Chatwood, too.

Next: Rule 5 Draft roster decisions looming

This offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates need to add pitching help. A free agent starting pitcher that can help the team is right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood. This makes Chatwood a name to watch in free agency.