Tyler Chatwood Strong Contender for NL Comeback Award
It’s never too early to start talking about Major League Baseball postseason awards and it’s certainly never too early to start thinking that Tyler Chatwood of the Colorado Rockies is one of the strongest candidates for National League Comeback Player of the Year.
Coming off his second Tommy John surgery in mid-July 2014, Chatwood hadn’t pitched in an MLB game in nearly two years when he took the mound on April 6 in a road matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chatwood not only proved he was back, but also chased away the Chase Field demons with a solid effort. After all, that was the stadium where he walked off the mound on April 29, 2014, knowing something was wrong in his arm.
Chatwood not only exorcized those demons but completely obliterated them by allowing one run in 6.1 innings to earn his first victory of the season. It also established a strong road record for the right-hander in 2016 as he has posted a 4.0 record and 0.33 ERA in four road starts.
That’s right. In 27.2 innings away from Coors Field, Chatwood has allowed just one earned run … and that was the run he surrendered in his opening appearance in Arizona. Since then, he’s hurled 25.1 innings without giving up an earned run.
“When you think about the last couple of years for him, it makes it that much better,” said Colorado manager Walt Weiss. “It’s been a tough road back after his second Tommy John but we always know what to expect as far as the mentality and the aggressiveness. It’s fun to watch.”
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Weiss says that there’s more to Chatwood than just statistics however.
“The starting pitcher sets the tone for the day, sometimes even before the game starts, because of the mentality he creates,” Weiss said. “We’re trying to get that with all of our guys. I feel like we’re getting there. Chatty is certainly one of those guys that when you see his name on the lineup card, you feel really good.”
Colorado catcher Tony Wolters says that Chatwood takes the mound with a “swagger” that translates over to the rest of the team.
“All four of his pitches were lights out. He had control of them,” Wolters said after Chatwood allowed just three hits in eight innings in a 2-0 Rockies win in San Diego. “He’s just a competitor out there. If you’re catching back there, you’ll see his face and you’ll be kinda scared of him. He has that mentality and that swagger on the mound that’s intimidating for hitters. He uses that for his advantage. I’m really proud of him.”
Chatwood brings the attitude, but he’s also quick to point out that the Colorado defense playing behind him has played a big role in his success.
“That’s where you want to be as a pitcher so to have that defense behind me gives me confidence,” Chatwood said. “The biggest thing is that we want to win games. Everyone in this clubhouse wants to win games.”
Chatwood earned his fifth win of the season on Sunday by throwing seven strong innings in a 4-3 decision over the New York Mets. It marked the third time this season that he’s thrown seven or more innings, a blessing for a team that has had an overworked bullpen in so many seasons past.
For Tyler Chatwood, every day back on the mound is a blessing. With every outing this season, he’s proving that the effort that went into getting him back into the Rockies rotation was well worth it. He’s also showing that the faith Colorado had in him returning to the mound was well-placed.
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“All of the hard work that went into it and all of the people who backed me, I owe it to them,” Chatwood said. “I had a good support system so now just being able to pitch again is fun. It’s fun being able to compete again. It’s special.”