Cubs Rumors: Acquiring a power lefty
The Cubs have not had a hard-throwing, imposing left-hander in the bullpen since Aroldis Chapman was closing out games in 2016. Chafin could be that guy.
In three of his last four seasons with the Diamondbacks, Chafin has posted at least a 10.69 K/9 rate, and he has cut his BB/9 rate from 4.56 last year to 2.94 this season.
Chafin has made 47 appearances for Arizona this season, posting a 3.21 ERA and 3.06 FIP in 33 2/3 innings of work. He has an equally impressive 3.31 xFIP and 3.40 SIERA, according to FanGraphs, and boasts a career ground ball rate of over 50 percent.
He has a fastball-sinker combo that routinely touches the mid-90s and a wipeout slider that he can throw in almost any count. Chafin seems like the perfect “power pitcher” to pair alongside guys like Pedro Strop and Craig Kimbrel in Chicago’s bullpen.
According to MLB Statcast, Chafin has an increased spin rate with all three of his pitches and is registering higher whiff percentages as a result.
While guys like Ryan and Brandon Kintzler have been adept at coming in and getting big outs, they are not strikeout threats like Chafin. Given his ability to move the slider around the zone and get soft contact on the ground, plus the punch-outs? Chafin seems like the right guy to compliment the rest of the arms in the bullpen.
Perhaps most importantly, Chafin dominates lefties. Opposing hitters from the same side of the dish are hitting just .213 with a .560 OPS against Chafin, and the Cubs need a guy that can neutralize left-handed hitters in the later innings.