Broadcasting legend Pat Hughes described Tyler Chatwood’s winning start against the Milwaukee Brewers as his “best as a Chicago Cub.” Pat ain’t wrong, folks. Chatwood blew by Milwaukee, striking out members of NL Central cellar-dwellers eight times in six innings of work.
Chatwood’s cutter against Milwaukee was the differentiating factor. He threw it nearly once every three pitches (26 of 84, 31%), compared to just once every 10 pitches in 2019.
Brewers batters swung and missed six times at Chatwood’s 26 cutters (23.1%), a rate nearly 50% greater than the MLB average against cutters. Even the great Christian Yelich fell victim to one of Chatwood’s cutters, as you can see in the first pitch in the video below. When Chatwood tunnels his cutters with two-seamers, it seems damn near impossible to put wood on them.
Chatwood threw those 90-91 mph cutters 26 times today https://t.co/zDAHEs9PJ0
— Brendan Miller (@brendan_cubs) July 26, 2020
If the cutter continues to be successful, Chatwood might go from 3-5 inning starter to more of a 5-7 inning staple. His performance against Milwaukee is what the front office envisioned when they lured him from Colorado on the strength of his spin rate numbers and raw stuff. It’s probably what Chatwood was hoping and working so hard towards, too.
Keep an eye on this particular pitch and how Chatwood chooses to utilize it moving forward.