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  • Is A Moustachioed Failed Starter What The Brewers Need?

    Jason Wang

    In their final big move before the trade window closed, the Brewers picked up left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Milwaukee bullpen has been solid all year but can another lefty add some spice and make them even better?

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    What He Adds To The Team
    Andrew Chafin has spent the majority of his major league career with the Arizona Diamondbacks but had stints with the Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and Detroit Tigers. He’s been a consistent reliever over his ten-year career, posting a 3.31 ERA and 1.244 WHIP over 435.0 innings pitched. He has regressed a little this year, posting a 4.19 ERA over 34.1 innings pitched but he performed well in his 2022 season with the Tigers, maintaining a 2.83 ERA over 57.1 innings pitched.

    Part of that regression has been caused by his walk-rate of 12.0%, currently in the 10th percentile of the league. Other than that, his pitching peripherals are actually quite good. He’s above the 94th percentile in K% (32.7%), whiff% (34.8%), and chase rate (34.8%). 

    Primarily a sinker-slider pitcher, he also uses the four-seam fastball 17.2% of the time but with below league-average velocity, he’s come to depend on his slider more, boasting a 56.8% whiff rate and a 28.8% PutAway%.

    Hoby Milner has been the only consistent leftie in the Brewers bullpen this season and while he’s done an excellent job, holding a 2.30 ERA over 43.0 innings pitched, Chafin will hopefully be another lefty arm to back him up. 

    Chafin is signed through 2023 with a team option in 2024, so depending on how the Milwaukee front office feels about his contributions to the team, he may be a short-term rental or longer-term bullpen staple. It seems that much will depend on whether the Brewers are able to see him return to his peak form between 2020-2022 where he had an impressive 2.59 ERA over 135.2 innings pitched.

    What The Brewers Gave Up
    To acquire Andrew Chafin, the Brewers sent Peter Strzelecki to Arizona. Strzelecki, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since June 27th, has a similar profile to Chafin despite being a righty. Posting a 4.54 ERA and a 1.178 WHIP over 35.2 innings, his three pitch arsenal is the same as Chafin’s despite using the four-seam fastball as his primary weapon while keeping the sinker as a nifty backup.

    Because of a seeming lack of appropriately priced bats and an already overcrowded starting rotation, Milwaukee chose to do what they could with what was in front of them. Chafin probably won’t get his number retired in American Family Field but for a relatively cheap reliever, he might be able to get a few key outs for the team leading up to this year’s postseason. 

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