Evaluating The Talent: Tyler Chatwood
I was almost four years old when Tyler Chatwood was born. I’m sure that tidbit does not seem that interesting to many of you (or any of you), but you’ll forgive me for struggling with the adjustment to my late 20’s and the realization that I am significantly older than a number of athletes for whom I cheer and root and yell on a nightly basis. It’s just still kind of weird for me.
I resisted the temptation of using a picture of him batting. It wasn’t easy. Image: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
This does also seem to bring us to a relevant point with Chatwood, however. At age 23, he is an absolute pup. His appearance fits that designation. He’s a little guy and his ears stick out like his hat is too big for him. As many have noted, he looks like somebody brought their kid brother along because otherwise one team wouldn’t have enough guys.
It feels to me like something has always hindered Chatwood’s development once he reached the big leagues. Speculating from afar it seems like the Angels may have rushed him to the show when he started 25 games in 2011. In 2012 the Rockies did not put him in a position to succeed by starting him out in the bullpen. I never understood the rationale behind that decision; why not let the youngest of your young borderline starters get more starts in the minor leagues? If your eventual plan is to use him in the starting rotation, what good does it do you or him to have him make an impermanent cameo as a reliever? I know that is a step for some young pitchers, but I never thought it made sense for Chatwood.
His next significant stretch with the big league club took place during the paired pitching experiment project thing that was never paired pitching. So while he did start 12 games, it is not useful to spend much time or energy on them. Due to a string of bad decisions, I believe that the Rockies are still clueless as to what they have in Chatwood, for better or for worse.
For Chatwood, 2012 needs to be dedicated solely to his development as a starting pitcher. He needs to find command of his electric fastball and find a way to miss more bats. That development needs to happen in the minor leagues, even if it is in the carnival that is the higher altitude of Colorado Springs, CO.
During last year’s Spring Training, Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton lauded Chatwood as the most exciting of the young arms in camp. There is still a high ceiling with Chatwood; the Rockies just need to learn from their 2012 mistakes when it comes to helping him reach that potential.
Where should Chatwood be in 2013? In the AAA starting rotation.
Where will Chatwood be in 2013? Pending something exciting or disastrous in the Spring Training rotation competition, in the AAA starting rotation.