Baltimore Orioles Interested in Starting Pitcher Tyler Chatwood

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 09: Tyler Chatwood
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 09: Tyler Chatwood /

The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly interested in starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood played for the Colorado Rockies last year.

The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly interested in starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi on Twitter. Chatwood played for the Colorado Rockies last season and has played for them since 2012.

Chatwood, who will be 28 in December, didn’t have a great year last season, though in his defense, as a member of the Rockies he spent a lot of time pitching in both Coors Field and Chase Field, two of the biggest hitters’ parks in baseball.

Chatwood ended last season going 8-15 with a 4.69 ERA, a 1.44 WHIP, and a 7.31 K/9 over 147.2 innings pitched. There’s reason to believe that that there was some bad luck involved with that, given his 22.2% HR/FB rate, which would be likely to regress to the mean. That HR/FB rate also explains his 4.27 xFIP, which is more likely what Chatwood would pitch to.

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Chatwood’s strength is as a groundball pitcher. Last season, he had a groundball rate of 58.1%, well above league average. He pitches to contact, which can be risky at times, but plenty of starting pitchers have had success with that style of pitching.

While Chatwood doesn’t give up fly balls often, when he does, they’re often home runs. Three out of the five seasons he’s played with the Rockies, he’s had a HR/FB rate above 18%, well above the typical average of 10%. Again, playing in Coors and Chase Field certainly doesn’t help that, but it’s not like the AL East is a pitcher’s haven either.

Chatwood’s repertoire features a mix of four pitches: a fastball that averaged around 95 MPH last year (the highest it’s been in his career, up from around 92 MPH the year before), a cutter that averages around 89 MPH, a changeup that averages around 87 MPH, and a curveball that averages around 80 MPH.

His curveball tends to be his putaway pitch, and when it’s on, it can be deadly:

The Baltimore Orioles’ offseason needs list is long, but starting pitching is first and foremost what they’re in need of. They’ve previously been linked to Andrew Cashner and Jason Vargas, and have reportedly been interested in acquiring a left-handed reliever for the bullpen.

The Baltimore Orioles have also reportedly been listening to some offers on closer Zach Britton, though those talks are still preliminary and could easily develop into nothing (like they did at last year’s trade deadline).

The bonus to Chatwood is that he’d likely be inexpensive. He’s not going to be an ace, but considering the fact that the Baltimore Orioles’ starting rotation has been one of the worst in baseball for the past couple years, they’ll take what they can get, and Chatwood is certainly better than some of the guys they rolled out on the mound last year.

Next: 10 Free Agent Left-Handed Hitters the Orioles Could Pursue

Moving to the AL East certainly wouldn’t do Chatwood any favors, but it would be better than Coors, and if he ended up with the Baltimore Orioles, I could see him having an ERA in the low-4s with a decent K/9. The walks will continue to be a concern, however.