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August 25, 2005

by SG

If the Yankees end up making the playoffs this season, the mid-season acquisition of Shawn Chacon may turn out to be the reason. Another solid outing by Chacon this afternoon helped the Yankees end a successful series with the Toronto Blue Jays, winning 3 of 4 games.

Chacon had put up average numbers in his career, although it's difficult to assess pitchers from Colorado. However, he's only 27 and has good stuff. He does have a troubling injury history in his past, but so do a lot of pitchers.

In his Yankee tenure, Chacon has made 7 appearances (6 starts and 1 relief appearance). The Yankees have won 6 of those games.
His overall numbers as a Yankee:
IP: 40
H: 33
R: 9
ER: 8
BB: 15
SO: 28
ERA: 1.80
FIP: 3.58

His peripherals:

K/BF: 0.17
BB/BF: 0.09
HR/BF: 0.01

K/9: 6.3
BB/9: 3.4
HR/9: 0.45
G/F: 0.9

As well as he's pitched, his peripherals indicate that some falloff should be expected. His K rate is a little lower than I'd like to see, and his BB rate is higher. The HR rate is excellent, but he is a fly ball pitcher, so it is very possibly a fluke.

I don't want to sound too down on Chacon, because even if he regresses to a little, he's still a very solid starter. I just want to caution about expecting a 1.80 ERA from him for the rest of the season. I also think he has a lot of room for improvement as he gets further away from Coors and the memories of pitching in Colorado, so his peripherals have a great chance to improve. Needless to say, he's been great, and Cashman did well to get him for minor league pitchers who may never end up having much of a major league career.

I thought Jim Kaat brought up a very interesting point during today's game when he mentioned that Chacon seems to have better control when he works out of the stretch, which may have been related to his relief work last year. It's something to watch for.

Of course, I do need to complain about Joe Torre in this space, so I will do that now. Chacon threw 127 pitches in his last outing, and today threw 119. While I am not opposed to occasional high pitch outings, Chacon has had arm and leg injury issues in his major league career, and the Yankees do not have the rotation depth to lose another starting pitcher. When the Yankees scored 2 runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4 run lead, I felt Chacon should have been pulled. I also felt that it was unnecessary to use Mariano Rivera with a 4 run lead, but I guess they want to work him out of WWWMW, so it's understandable. I had no problem with using Tom Gordon for the 8th, and he really looked filthy. Amazing what a little rest can do, huh?