Saturday, October 26, 2013

Exit Music (For A Player): Kevin Chapman

We're taking a look at the Astros who are still on the 40-Man Roster as part of our off-season Exit Music (For A Player) recap of 2013. Read the archive here. Today we take on Kevin Chapman.

Acquired: Via Trade with Kansas City on March 20, 2012 with D'Andre Toney for Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero.

25 appearances - 20.1IP.
ERA: 1.77; FIP: 4.78; xFIP: 5.05
1.28 WHIP. 232 ERA+
Baseball-Reference WAR: 0.8; FanGraphs WAR: 0.0
K/9: 6.64; BB/9: 5.75
2013 Salary: $2.13/hour + tips

Having exhausted all other Major League bullpen options, the Astros brought up Kevin Chapman from OKC in the first week of August. In 45 appearances for OKC (50.2IP), Chapman posted a 3.20 ERA/1.54 WHIP, with 61K:36BB - the walks being the problem with his WHIP, since he allowed a career-best (as far as his minor-league career goes, anyway) 7.5 H/9, with a 6.4 BB/9, breaking his previous career-high (2012) of 5.0 BB/9. But you saw the Goatpen in action, so it only made sense to bring Chapman up to see what he could do.

And you know what, it worked out okay, for the most part. In 25 appearances for the Astros (20.1IP), Chapman allowed 13 hits and four earned runs...but with 15 strikeouts and 13 walks, meaning that he walked as many batters as got a hit off of him. So his mainstream stat line reads 1.77 ERA/1.28 WHIP. Not bad, right? It turns out that Chapman is either very lucky, or very good at pitching out of jams, because his FIP is a robust 4.28, with an even robuster 5.05 xFIP.

High-Water Mark:
August 29 vs. Seattle. Chapman throws a season-high 2.1IP, allowing a hit and a walk, but striking out three.

What Went Well:
*You can see Chapman being the new LOOGY, seeing as how in 42 PAs against lefties Chapman allowed just a .463 OPS. He allowed six hits, and "only" five walks.
*He only allowed one home run (I mean, it won the game for the Rangers on August 10, but whatever). Chapman only gave up four extra-base hits to 87 batters faced in 2013.
*Away from Minute Maid, batters were 5x31 with no extra-base hits against Chapman. That's a likely-unsustainable .192 BABIP, but hey, we'll look for positives wherever we can.

What Didn't:
*The walks, man. But then again Chapman has always had an issue with walks. The only time his BB/9 rate has been below 4.0 was in his repeat year at High-A in 2011. Still, from 2011 to 2013 (minors only) Chapman's BB/9 rate has gone from 4.8 to 5.0 to 6.4, respectively. His LOB% has gone from 66% to 79.6% to 73.5% in that time frame, with Chapman stranding 82% of Major-League batters in 2013.
*I doubt the Astros know exactly what they have in Chapman after 20IP, but he walked eight of the 45 righties he faced in 2013, with a .706 OPS.

2014 contract: Pre-Arbitration, will make around league minimum
2014 outlook: There's no reason not to leave Chapman where he is in the bullpen. After so much inconsistency from the rest of the guys they threw out there, he performed admirably enough to let the Astros see him for a longer look in 2014.