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Indians To Face Chatwood—Wait, Who's Chatwood?

As Julio fanshotted, Dan Haren has been pushed back a day, meaning the Indians will face Tyler Chatwood in his major league debut tonight. Chatwood is a former second-round pick who was Baseball America's #76 prospect in baseball entering this season. Kevin Goldstien rated Chatwood as a three-star prospect and left him off of his Top 101. Consensus seems to be gathering around Chatwood having the ceiling of 3–4 starter.

Chatwood had a breakout year in 2010 — he threw 155 innings across High-A, AA, and AAA, posting a 2.84 ERA overall. His ERA ballooned as he moved up the ladder, from 1.77 in 81 innings at High-A, to 3.82 in 68 innings at AA, to 6.35 in 5 innings at AAA. Simultaneously, his K-rate decreased from 7.7 K/9 at High-A to sub-5.0 at both AA and AAA. His walk rate stayed around 4.0 per game across all levels. 

Chatwood is a small righty, listed at six feet but perhaps shorter. Goldstein and Halos Heaven agree that he throws a sinker, a four-seamer, and a big curve, all of which are rated as average to above-average, as well as a changeup. Basically, he's a little righty who can pump it up there in the low- to mid-90s, physically in the mold of Roy Oswalt or Tim Hudson. You can see his big curve on the fifth pitch of this video

Chatwood struggled with walks and a low strikeout rate at AA and AAA. If Indians hitters are patient, they should able to both draw walks and find pitches to drive. Chatwood is stingy with the home run, having surrendered less than 0.5 HR/9 in his career — his sinker helps him keep the ball down, leading to a high GB% and a low HR/9. However, he was very hittable at AA last year—see his 9.5 H/9. In short, as Adam said in the FanShot comments, Chatwood doesn't appear close to ready for the big leagues. Chatwood's vulnerability is reinforced by Goldstein's writeup:

The lack of angle on his fastball, as well as a lack of movement, makes it less effective than his velocity would suggest, and he had significant trouble missing bats in the Texas League. He has a tendency to tip his changeup with visibly slower arm action. While he's made progress in his command and control, it remains a troubling issue that often leaves him behind in the count. 

-KG

Extended Scouting Reports: 

Halos Heaven from 2010

Goldstein's 2011 Angels Top 11

Sickels 2011 Angels Top 20 (very short blurb)

FanGraphs 2011 Angels Top 10