When Scott Atchison was signed as a MiLB free agent at the start of last year, few expected that he amount to much more than a Spring Training arm. As it turned out, he was something of a revelation, pitching in 72 innings over 70 games to a 2.75 ERA/3.08 FIP for a fWAR of 0.8. Time and again Tito turned to him in clutch situations, and Atch rarely let him down.
Having signed a $900K contract extension for 2015 (with a $1M option and $100K buyout for 2016) everyone hoped that Atchison would be able to put up a repeat performance, but alas, he has struggled all year and a 6.86 ERA/6.61 FIP with a -0.5 fWAR is a sad indication of just how ineffective he has been. Even a spell on the DL didn't help, as he was somewhat bizarrely recalled after just a single rehab outing and was no better than he had been before.
It seems like a loss of velocity may have been at the root of Atchison's issues. Last year he averaged 93.16 MPH on his fastball and 88.35 MPH on his slider; this year those numbers are down to 91.18 MPH and 86.14 MPH respectively.
The decison to DFA Atchison obviously weighed heavy on Tito: "You do what you think is best for the ballclub, but it hurt. Everyone in the organization respects and cares about Atch." This may possibly be the last anyone sees of him as an MLB player, in which case we can only wish him well. Thanks for the great 2014, Scott!
Fellow RHP Austin Adams has been recalled to take Atchison's spot in the bullpen. Adams has pitched 11.1 IP for the Tribe so this year, with a 2.38 ERA/4.08 FHIP. He has been averaging 97.67 MPH on his fastball this year, topping 100 MPH on several occasions.