Houston Astros: Who could be next year’s Charlie Morton?

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Charlie Morton
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Charlie Morton /
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Houston Astros
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 17: Jhoulys Chacin /

Jhoulys Chacin

Much like Chatwood, Chacin endured the hitter-friendly conditions of Coors Field for multiple years. But once he departed from the cold air and high altitude, he fared much better.

Chacin developed into a near-ace for the Padres last year, although Dinelson Lamet was also very good in San Diego. Chacin led the team in wins, ERA, and strikeouts last season, proving he was well worth the $1.75 million he was signed for.

After two really rough months to start the season, he settled enough quite well. In each of the final four months of the year, he didn’t sport an ERA worse than 3.31. His decent 7.6 K/9 rate was also second-best in his career.

The Venezuelan comes with several red flags, however. His road/home splits are severely different, as he posted a minuscule 1.79 ERA at home but an unbearable 6.53 ERA anywhere else. He had three undeniably horrid starts – he allowed 23 runs in a combined 10 innings.

Furthermore, his command is difficult to trust, as he walked 3.6 batters per nine innings. He also led the league in hit-by-pitches. Yet he’s always had issues in those categories, averaging more than three walks per nine innings in all but one season.

The primary reason most teams may have an eye on Chacin is to eat innings. That’s the understanding behind several of the signings made by the Phillies, Braves, and Padres.

And ironically, that was a reason the Phillies signed Morton two years ago. If Chacin can stay healthy like he did in 2017, he has the tools to be successful. Yet, it might depend on what his home ballpark is.

Still, he has potential to do well, and he can pitch more than 180 innings, something he’s done in three of his eight full seasons.