As someone who grew up in the sticks (no, seriously, go check out the Wikipedia page for Mazon, Illinois) – I always appreciate a country boy like Andrew Chafin who knows who he is, doesn’t try to conform or be someone he’s not. Rocking a mustache that could rival Ron Burgundy and anchoring the Chicago Cubs bullpen from the left side, he’s checking every possible box.
Of course, he played a critical role in the team’s historic combined no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on Thursday – but what he’s brought to the table this year for Chicago and manager David Ross has been nothing short of magnificent.
And before we delve too deeply into his numbers, let’s appreciate his expert-level dad jokes:
Told you they were good. Back to the numbers.
On the year, Chafin has made 34 appearances, putting him on track to knock on a new career-high if all continues going as it has on the year. Why is he pitching so often? Well, because he’s been about as lights-out as they come this year – evidenced by a 1.67 ERA and 0.835 WHIP.
Chicago Cubs: ICYMI – Andrew Chafin is really freaking good at baseball
Per Baseball Savant, Chafin is really a middle-of-the-pack guy when it comes to strikeouts. But in virtually every other facet, the guy has been elite:
- 94th percentile in average exit velocity
- 87th percentile in hard hit percentage
- 95th percentile in xwOBA
- 95th percentile in xERA
- 92nd percentile in xBA
- 93rd percentile in xSLG
- 82nd percentile in barrel percentage
All this to say that, without Chafin, it’s hard to think where the Cubs might be right now – definitely not atop the NL Central. Probably without their 17th no-hitter in franchise history, too. Now there are plenty of relievers who cost tens of millions of dollars a year and they come with an ego and everything else you get with high-profile athletes more often than any of us would like.
Chafin, along with several other Chicago relievers, most notably Ryan Tepera, are essentially operating on ‘prove it’-type contracts. Chafin is on a one-year, $2.75 million deal with a mutual option for next season (seriously, Jed, if you don’t bring this man back, I’ll lose my mind) – and he’s one of the top 30 relievers in all of baseball right now.
All this to say, Andrew Chafin is the man. I figured on the heels of the no-no in the opener against the Dodgers was as good a time as any to show him some love in the midst of what’s been a pretty remarkable season for the big lefty.