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Andrew Chafin – More Than a Mustache

Andrew Chafin not only has an epic mustache, but he’s also an elite pitcher. Let’s take a look at the advanced stats, and why Chafin is a stud pitcher.

Andrew Chafin
Photo: NBC Chicago

As the saying goes, the mustache makes the man. Or something along those lines, right? Andrew Chafin has become somewhat of a Cubs living legend since the team acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of last August.

Originally, the intrigue sprung from his looks. Personally, when I first saw Chafin, I couldn’t decide whether he looked more like a 70’s porn star, or former Cubs closer Rod Beck reincarnated. Some of the On Tap Sports Net guys told me he looks like the Cubs player most likely to win Cannonball Run, or the product if John. C. Reilly and Will Ferrell had a baby. Below are what some others believe Chafin looks like. You be the judge.

Of the things Chafin looks like, a modern-era pitcher is not one of them. However, that’s exactly what he is: a solid left-handed reliever the Cubs have relied on heavily out of the pen this season. He also loves classic cars, slept on his boat when he first got to Chicago last year, and has an incredible mustache that makes even the manliest of men slightly jealous. At any rate, let’s take a deeper look at Chafin and what he’s actually doing on the mound.

Chafin: Behind the Numbers

Taking a look at Chafin’s baseball savant page, the screen lights up with a lot of red-coloring. Red, in this case, is a good thing. Essentially, that means he ranks near the top in a lot of advanced metrics.

As a bullpen, the Cubs currently sit first in hard contact rate allowed, yielding only 26.1 percent, according to Fangraphs. Chafin, while adding color and life to the clubhouse, is a big part of their success. Chafin ranks 13th in xwOBA (.239) and xERA (2.21). His season ERA is 3.38, which is good, but as you can see, his xERA suggests he’s been pitching even better than the surface stats show. The top five in those aforementioned categories are Corbin Burnes, James Karinchak, Matt Barnes, Jacob deGrom, and Michael Kopech. It goes without saying, but he’s in an elite territory as it pertains to those metrics.

It doesn’t end there. Chafin is also in the top ten percent of the league or better in xBA, xSLG, xwOBACON.

To get the results, Chafin relies on three pitches – a sinker (44.9 percent), slider (32.7 percent), and four-seam fastball (22 percent). He’s also thrown one changeup, but we won’t count that. His put away pitch seems to be the slider with an excellent 47.5 percent whiff rate and 25.6 percent put away percent. Opposing batters are only hitting .111 against the slider, and 10 of his 18 strikeouts have come on that pitch alone. The sinker has been his weak contact generator. That offering has only a 10 percent hard-hit rate so far this year.

So, you see, Chafin isn’t merely a sideshow. He likes working on cars, farming, fishing, sleeping on his boat, and watching old John Wayne western movies. Meanwhile, he’s obviously great at baseball because he’s gotten to this level in his playing career without obsessing over sports. He just does it because he’s blessed and talented enough to make such a great living doing it. I’m paraphrasing, but those are his words, not mine.

Nevertheless, Chafin has endeared himself to the city of Chicago by engaging fans on Twitter with questions like these:

Someone reached out to him and he was able to find his beater, a 1988 Pontiac Firebird. Naturally, he wanted to take that bad boy out for a spin.

Manager David Ross is very lucky to have his clubhouse personality and on-field talents to solidify the seventh and eighth innings of ballgames. As my Tweet states, burnouts, donuts, and strikeouts are just a few of the things that make up Chafin’s life. Yet, the facts remain. “The Sheriff” is a damn good pitcher and a guy we’d all love to grab a cold one and #CrackUm with. Cubs fans, enjoy the ride.

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