Chicago Cubs: Projecting which starters will pitch the best in 2020

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Tyler Chatwood, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: With his walk issues hopefully behind him, Tyler Chatwood will solidify himself as the fourth-best starter in the rotation

Yes, this does assume that Chatwood will beat out Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay for a starter job when Opening Day rolls around.

Chatwood’s first season with the Cubs in 2018 was a well-documented disaster. Couple his play with his contract, and signing the 30-year-old righty looked like a massive mistake.

The issue was the walks.

A mid-90s fastball with good movement across the plate coupled with a curve that is 15 miles per hour slower than his fastballs on average gives him probably the toughest arsenal of pitches to hit out of everyone on the starting staff besides Darvish.

Between 2018 and 2019, Chatwood slashed his walks per nine innings nearly in half to finish the season with a 3.76 ERA as he transformed into one of the Cubs’ more reliable relievers last season. As a starter, he had a 3.97 ERA last season in five starts walking just 12 batters across those starts.

Mechanical changes between seasons steadied his confidence, and as Bleacher Nation’s Brett Taylor noted in an article a few days ago, Chatwood continually got better as the season progressed in 2019.

Chatwood was a 70 percent fastball pitcher in 2019. Since most of his time was spent as a reliever, he could reach back and fling it averaging about 96 mph on his four-seam fastball and sinker.

Whether those pitches will play as well when he has to pace himself, and the velocity is a tick lower because he is a starter rather than a reliever is a question mark for him this season.

But, the arsenal is there, he should still be riding the momentum of a 2019 season when he improved throughout the course of the year, and he seems to have figured out his walk issues.

Expect a big year from Chatwood as he solidifies himself as the fourth-best starter on the Cubs staff.