Although the Arizona Diamondbacks have a wealth of young pitching prospects, not many of them are left-handed. The best one is Andrew Chafin, whom the team took with the 43rd pick in the 2011 draft. The D’backs selected Chafin after his sophomore year at Kent St., knowing he was about 16 months removed from Tommy John surgery. So far, the risk seems to have paid off.
Chafin began his professional career in 2012 at Class A Visilia although he did make one appearance in the Rookie League in 2011. He appeared in 30 games, 23 of them starts and went 6-6 with a 4.93 ERA. In 122 1/3 innings, the southpaw surrendered 112 hits and 69 walks while striking out 150. He started 2013 at Visilia but was quickly was called up to Double A Mobile where he flourished. Chafin went 10-7 with a 2.85 ERA in 21 games, all of them starts. In 126 1/3 innings, he gave up 118 hits but only 41 walks while fanning 87. He was scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League and made two appearances but was shut down because of a “tired arm”. It was not a case of injury; Chafin felt the ball wasn’t coming out right during his outings. There are no other problems to report regarding this issue.
According to mlb.com, Chafin started 2013 as the organization’s #19 prospect and has since risen to #6. He has a fastball that tops out at 94 and possesses an above-average slider. The same scouting report states that Chafin might be a better fit for the bullpen, having him concentrate on improving both the fastball and the slider. Chafin figures to spend most of 2014 at Triple A Reno in a starting role. However, don’t be surprised to see him in Arizona earlier if lefty relievers Joe Thatcher and Eury De La Rosa are not up to the task out of the bullpen.