Chicago Cubs: How Tyler Chatwood can be useful in 2019

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
2 of 6
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Can Tyler Chatwood clear the mechanism?

Tyler Chatwood has always been a guy with tremendous stuff.  That much is unquestioned, as he was a second-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2008 right out of high school.  After a 2018 season that saw Chatwood shatter his personal record for walks in a season in only 103 innings, it’s only fair to ask the question: what went wrong?

When a pitcher all of a sudden loses his control, there are usually only two possibilities; either he’s got the yips or it’s a mechanical flaw.  With both issues, there is the chance it is a permanent and fatal flaw.  There’s the chance you will never again be a useful contributor to a Major League team.  This happens every year.  There’s also the chance it can be rectified in short order and it’s just a blip on the radar.  This also happens every year.

We have seen the yips with guys like Dontrelle Willis and Rick Ankiel, both very successful and very productive pitchers before they simply couldn’t throw a strike anymore.  We’ve seen the yips the last few years as Cubs’ fans every time Jon Lester tries to throw to first.  Thankfully, with Lester, it doesn’t affect him throwing 60 feet, 6 inches.

This adds to the point that, sometimes, the yips can be worked around, circumvented, or even overcome altogether.  This also happens all the time and guys sometimes just lose it every once in a while and then find themselves psychologically or physiologically  again.

The other side of the coin is a mechanical issue. There are a ton of moving parts when you dissect a windup and delivery from a baseball mound and rubber.  Body, head, arms, wrists, fingers, legs, feet, positioning, stride; you name it, it has been an issue mechanically for someone.  Most pitchers who have fought and clawed all the way to the Major Leagues know their bodies and their deliveries very well. They can often self correct, especially with the help of video, a good catcher, or pitching coach.

Mechanical flaws or problems are usually not irreparable because mechanics can be adjusted and tweaked.  Let’s hope, for Chatwood’s sake, a mechanical flaw was the issue and it has been tweaked for this season.