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Dr. Jekyll and Tyler Chatwood

Extreme splits aren’t something new for Rockies players, but how much can we tolerate?

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Chatwood was acquired by the Rockies back in 2011 in a deal for Chris Iannetta. Chatwood, since then, has battled both injury and performance issues. But he solidified himself as a big part of the Rockies’ rotation last season. With Jon Gray’s injury this season, he has had to fill even bigger shoes. Whether or not he has done so is a bit up for debate. Thus far, Chatwood has seemed to generate value entirely through his road starts.

Coors Field is not kind to pitchers. That may come as a surprise, I know. The introduction of the humidor has helped tamp down the effects of the altitude, but it can only do so much. Adding the general spaciousness of the layout only makes things worse for pitchers. This makes home/away splits a hot button issue for any Rockies player.

Rockies starters this season have have not been immune to these effects. Nearly across the board, their performance at home has been worse than their performance on the road, with only the exclusion of their walk rate.

Rockies Starters Home/Away Splits

Starters ERA FIP K% BB% HR/FB BABIP
Starters ERA FIP K% BB% HR/FB BABIP
Home 4.78 4.62 18.0% 8.7% 16.8% .299
Away 3.57 4.28 20.9% 12.5% 14.7% .273

Tyler Chatwood, however, has been especially emblematic of this schism. Since he hoisted himself into the rotation regularly last season, Chatwood has not fared well at all at Coors field, especially compared to the success he’s posted on the road.

Chatwood Home/Away Splits

Chatwood ERA FIP K% BB% HR/FB BABIP
Chatwood ERA FIP K% BB% HR/FB BABIP
Home 7.03 5.34 18.9% 13.3% 29.4% .352
Away 2.41 4.35 21.0% 9.5% 20.6% .197

Chatwood did something similar last year, with a disparity in his ERA of over 5 runs when returning to Coors Field from out of town. It’s become clear that the Tyler Chatwood that pitches at home cannot be relied on like the one on the road.

Still, he has performed well in aggregate by some measure. Both bWAR and pWARP have been bullish on Chatwood. He currently sits near 2 wins on both parts. Along with that, his DRA currently sits at 3.54. FanGraphs isn’t nearly as much of a believer in him, but he doesn’t have the type of profile that begets success with FIP. His lack of consistent control and propensity to allow long balls puts him in a poor position to succeed there.

The question remains how much variance is acceptable for Chatwood between home and away starts. He has clearly positioned himself incredibly poorly among all starters in Coors. Meanwhile, his soft contact profile has played up in other ballparks. The Rockies may be faced with the reality that Chatwood’s home starts must be limited in order to maximize the value out of both him and their rotation as a whole.

Anthony Rescan is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score and is a Stats Intern at Baseball Prospectus. You can follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyRescan.