Jhoulys is pronounced Joo-lees.
In 2007, his first year in the U.S., Chacin shared the Pioneer League strikeout lead (77 in 92 innings) with Orem's Robert Fish and Great Falls' Juan Moreno.
In 2008, Chacin led the entire minor leagues in wins (18), ranked third in innings pitched, and was sixth in ERA and strikeouts.
In 2009, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Jhoulys as the second-best prospect in the Rockies' organization, behind only OF Dexter Fowler. In the winter before the 2010 spring camps opened, they had Chacin as the fourth best prospect in the Rockies' farm system.
On August 18, 2009, Chacin pitched the first 5 1/3 innings of a 9-inning no-hitter for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, with Joel Peralta, Juan Rincon, and Randy Flores pitching the rest of the game.
- The Rockies have had to modify Jhoulys's training program to keep his body as that of a pitcher, rather than a linebacker.
"He's a mature-bodied kid, unlike Ubaldo or Esmil Rogers, who have lankier frames," Rockies player development director Marc Gustafson said. "If he came in and did squats, he could probably lift a lot of weight. For him, we have to do a lot of footwork and agility work, even if it's jump rope—the old-school way."
Chacin spent the winter before 2011 spring training in Tucson, Arizona, with his girlfriend, Alba Iratorza. The couple welcomed their first child, Nicole, on December 1, 2010.
During the offseason before 2013 spring training, Jhoulys realized he needed to change his preparation. Gone were the heavy lifting exercises that increased the mass of Chacin's chest, but created the impediments to his shoulder and arm. Chacin learned to properly improve the smaller muscles in his shoulder area and converted his leg routine to one that improved endurance.
Chacin pitched once for Venezuela in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He pitched better than the result—five hits and four runs in 3 1/3 innings of a loss to the Dominican Republic. More important, he had a chance to work with former Major League pitcher Wilson Alvarez, the Venezuelan pitching coach. Alvarez noticed a flaw in Chacin's fastball and invited him to work with him this offseason, and they furthered their work during the Classic.
"I appreciate what he did for me," Chacin said. "He didn't have to do it, but he's from Maracaibo (as is Chacin) and he likes to help people."
Jhoulys and former Astros pitcher Gustavo Chacín are second cousins.
January 2017: Chacin committed to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
It started with teammates in Colorado occasionally calling him "Chacin the Machine." "Albert Pujols is 'The Machine,'" Jhoulys said.
So the righthander came up with a creative solution—one he'll wear again this year when the Brewers' steadiest starting pitcher takes the mound against the Pirates at Miller Park. Chacin took the Spanish word for machine—La Máquina—and made it more pitcher-friendly with the addition of a K.
That's why you'll see LA MAKINA across his back during the game. "I never really had a nickname in baseball," Chacin said. "Maybe when I was a kid, they called me something. But I don't remember. I like the nicknames. You get to know better about your teammates. It's something I really like, and I know all the guys here like.
"I hope they keep doing it." (McCalvy - mlb.com - 8/23/2018)
Brewers' Jhoulys Chacin's Major-League odyssey is a reminder that baseball takes time.
After spending three years trying to rebuild his career, Jhoulys Chacín emerged as a major factor in one of the Brewers' best seasons ever. The righthander not only helped the Brewers collect 96 victories, tying a team record, to secure the National League Central Division. Chacín also won 15 games and amassed 156 strikeouts, both team highs and personal bests.
"Jhoulys has been as much as we could ever hope for when we signed him this winter," manager Craig Counsell said. "He's taken the ball every fifth day and delivered good results. He's just been a very stabilizing presence for us. During the course of 162 games, you need that consistency, that durability. On top of that, he's just pitched wonderfully, especially in some really big games. He's just been an anchor to our pitching staff."
Yet as recently as four years ago, Chacín was struggling to stay in the Major Leagues. In 2013, the Venezuelan righthander achieved his best season to that point: a 14-10 record with a team-high 126 strikeouts for the Rockies. But during spring training in 2014, Chacín strained his right shoulder. He was on the disabled list from March 28 to May 3. When he came back, he lost seven of eight decisions before returning to the disabled list on June 30—where he spent the rest of the season.
When the Rockies released Chacín on March 28, 2015, his odyssey began. He signed with the Cleveland Indians, who sent him to their Triple-A club in Columbus, Ohio. Chacín lost three of four minor-league decisions and the Indians released him June 18. Two days later, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Chacín but he spent most of his time with the Triple-A team in Reno, Nev. The right-hander made just five appearances for Arizona, four of them starts, before becoming a free agent. Despite the setbacks, Chacín remained determined.
"I never lost confidence in myself," he said. "I always said that if I get back to being healthy, I know I can pitch better."
The Braves took a chance and signed Chacín in February 2016. After one minor-league start, the Braves recalled Chacín, who pitched in five games before being traded May 11 to the Los Angeles Angels for Adam McCreery. With the Angels, Chacín made more starts (17), appeared in more games (29) and threw more innings (117) than he had since 2013 while compiling a 5-6 record. In his best performance, The Padres encouraged Chacín to use his slider more often. Chacín called 2016 "the year I finally got back to normal."
"Over my career, I threw it more against lefties than righties," he said. "Last year with San Diego, they made me throw the backdoor slider more, then mix it up with a back-foot slider. Then on my own, I started doing different stuff with my slider. I tried to make it slower. Sometimes, I tried to make it look like a curveball. Sometimes, I'd change my arm angle with the slider. For me, it's the same pitch but it looks different to the hitters."
As a result, Chacín became one of only two of the Padres' starters to end the season with a winning record while leading San Diego with 14 victories and 153 strikeouts. That performance piqued the Brewers' interest. "He was a player that I know some members of our front office have liked for a long time and followed closely for a long time,"Counsell said. "We were excited to get him."
The feeling was mutual.
"When free agency started, they called me up," Chacín said. "Milwaukee was the first team that called my agent. It made it easier for me. Milwaukee was my first priority."Chacín negotiated a two-year contract because he noticed how special the Brewers could be when he pitched for the Padres. "Last year, when we played against them, you could tell the chemistry they have, how they were having fun," he said. "They were winning, too. They fell one game short of making the playoffs. It's a young team. It's a good team. They're playing well. It's something you think about."
Joining the Brewers enabled Chacín to expand his repertoire. "This year, I'm also throwing more change-ups, too, which is something that has helped me with my slider and my two-seamer," he said. "Every time I threw my four-seamer, that's when I took the hitter by surprise. That's one of the keys."
For Counsell, seeing Chacín pitch means savoring an aesthetic experience. "It's a thrill for me to watch competitors, and Jhoulys is a true competitor," Counsell said. "He's out on the mound thinking of ways to beat you. He's got a number of different tricks in his bag, so to speak, that he goes to. I enjoy that. It's gamesmanship. It's competitiveness. It's creativity on the mound. That's a cool way to watch baseball. It's a cool way to pitch. It really is."
Left-hander Wade Miley expressed his appreciation more succinctly. "We get to watch him go out there and pitch, which is something we're losing track of in this game," Miley said. "He pitches with everything he has and give us quality innings pretty much every time out." With his own career stabilized, Chacín can afford to provide stability to others. "He's just a leader," Miley said. "He takes guys under his wing. He's always looking to help people. When it's his turn to pitch, he's pretty serious about what he's got to do. But on the four other days, he spends a lot of time caring about the other guys."
With the Brewers three wins away from the World Series, Chacín enjoys the opportunity to fulfill a cherished goal. "I always watch every postseason game on TV," he said. "You can see all the pressure, the adrenaline. Even when you're watching the TV, you can feel it. I always wanted to feel that, personally. Finally, I have a chance to make that happen. I can't ask for a better year than this." (Joseph D'Hippolito - Sporting News - Oct. 2018)
In the summer of 2020, for the first time in his memory, Jhoulys had no desire to throw a baseball. Well, he made an exception to one person. And now in 2021, the Rockies are benefitting.
Chacín began the 2021 season as a little-used long reliever. Now, taking advantage of an uptick in velocity and pure stuff coming from rest and a lighter innings load, Chacín (2-1, 5.34 ERA) is receiving important late-game innings in the Rockies’ bullpen. Additionally, he is the team’s most experienced player, and it would be hard to find one more beloved.
And the Rockies have a 5-year-old to thank. Aug. 1, 2020, the Braves designated Chacín for assignment after just two appearances. In the year prior, Chacín had been let go by the Brewers (for whom he started Game 7 against the Dodgers with a World Series trip on the line in 2018), the Red Sox (who had given him six games/five starts at the end of 2019) and the Twins (during the pandemic).
Feeling squeezed out like many experienced workers who see savvy devalued in favor of younger and lower-paid workers, Chacín was tired of it all. He wasn’t ready to retire, but the job insecurity was tiring. So he turned down other teams. “I kinda lost a little bit of the love for baseball,” he acknowledged.
When Chacín took his ball and went home, his son, Dominic, was waiting. Chacín and his wife Alba also have a 10-year-old daughter, Niccole, whom dad describes as "very calm.”
Dominic? Well, calm isn’t his thing. “He’s only 5, and he loves baseball . . . he’s crazy about baseball,” Chacín said. “The way he loves the game reminds me of when I was young. Even a couple years ago when I was pitching in the playoffs, it didn’t matter what was going on off the field. "When I went home, he wanted to throw to me every day. Then we were watching baseball, every day. I started watching games with him. He watches baseball all day on the iPad. Games. Old Home Run Derbys. And I started thinking, ‘I can’t just leave it like that.’”
Energized by the family time, Chacín signed a Minor League deal contract with the Yankees in January 2021. He knew there were no guarantees, but he also believed his ability and know-how would put him back in the Majors. One day toward the end of Spring Training 2021, Rockies coaches were watching the television at their training center in Scottsdale, AZ, when Chacín made the final appearance of a solid spring for the Yankees.
“We were told that there's a chance he was going to be available,” Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster said. “And every man sitting in there said we want that guy. Wow. And we told Jeff that day. We didn't hesitate, and he wanted to come back here.”
Chacín appeared in just eight of the first 52 games, usually in low-leverage situations. But when Chacín earned a 10th-inning win over the Brewers on June 18, 2021, then threw two solid innings against the Brewers the next day, the Rockies had a trusted late-game arm. He has made a living with the slider, now with varying speeds, plus a cutter. He adds a fastball that hasn’t been seen in a while.
Now, Chacín is more like his son than his former self. He pounds his glove after each good late-inning appearance. “I tell the guys, you don’t always win, so you have to enjoy every game,” he said.
Alba and Niccole went to the field to take in the postgame fireworks show. It's part of a tradition at Coors Field, where they not only allow players’ families on the field, but also fans from the outfield seats. But Dominic had other ideas for his dad. “I’m trying to find my gear and he is running around—he wants to run the bases,” Chacín said. “He’s like, ‘I’m Trevor Story,’ or he’s imitating Raimel Tapia.” (Harding - mlb.com - 7/6/2021)
Jhoulys’s very presence with the Rockies represents a return to his joyous baseball youth. He was 16 when signed out of Maracaibo, Venezuela, beginning a pro baseball existence that’s covered almost half his life. He debuted in the Majors in 2009 at age 21 and was a starting-rotation mainstay from 2010-14.
His return to a club where he is in the top 10 in many career categories also represents a coming to terms with what is, at times, an unsteady business. By the spring of 2015, Chacín had made all but one of his 110 starts in a Rockies uniform (10th on the club’s career list), sometimes serving at the No. 1 starter. But he battled shoulder injuries in 2014 and was limited to 11 starts (1-7, 5.40 ERA) while being paid $4.8 million.During the spring, he was also dealing with a herniated disk in his back. Still, it was a surprise when the Rockies, in one of Jeff Bridich’s first notable moves as GM, released Chacín on March 22, 2015. Chacín accepted the decision in real time, and even now speaks of it with understanding. “I know that I wasn't 100 percent by them, so they make a decision . . . this is a business, too,” Chacín said. “So I had to go forward, go for different stuff. I never was mad about it.”
Chacín was back in the Majors with the D-backs by the end of that season, then bounced to the Braves and Angels in '16 and Padres in ’17. He regained footing with the Brewers in ’18, and not just by going 15-8 with a 3.50 ERA while leading the NL in starts with 35. Chacín blanked the Rockies for five innings of Game 2 of the NL Division Series, a 4-0 decision in an eventual three-game sweep.
“He’s a tremendous teammate. He speaks great Spanish and English. So he connects with all. He has a gravitating, incredible personality that fits so perfect at the right time for us,” Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster said.
His old team, the Brewers, noticed. “They said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?'” Chacin said, smiling at having regained the ability to go high in the strike zone the way he did early in his career. (Harding - mlb.com - 7/6/2021)
2006: Chacin signed with the Rockies at age 16. Francisco Cartaya is the scout who signed him.
January 26, 2013: Chacin and the Rockies agreed on a two-year, $6.5 million contract.
January 15, 2015: Chacin signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Rockies.
March 22, 2015: Chacin was unconditionally released by the Rockies.
After going 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA in 2014, Chacin had a 6.52 ERA in four appearances in Cactus League games, two starts. He walked four and struck out five in 9 2/3 innings.
"It's a tough day," manager Walt Weiss said. "A tough day for us, for me having to have that conversation with Jhoulys, who has been a warrior for us."
The reason for the move, Weiss said, was that the club had brought in a number of starting candidates and, "We just felt like Jhoulys was behind a few of the other guys."
April 14, 2015: The Indians signed pitcher Chacin to a Minor League contract.
June 18, 2015: Jhoulys obtained his release from the Indians organization.
June 20, 2015: Chacin signed with the D'Backs organization.
January 7, 2016: The Braves signed free agent Chacin.
May 11, 2016: The Braves traded Chacin to the Angels for LHP Adam McCreery.
Nov 3, 2016: Chacin chose free agency.
Dec 20, 2016: The Padres signed free agent Chacin.
Nov 2, 2017: Chacin elected free agency.
Dec. 20, 2017: The Brewers signed Chacin to a two-year deal.
Aug 26, 2019: The Brewers released Chacin.
Aug 31, 2019: The Red Sox organization signed free agent RHP Chacin.
Oct 31, 2019: Chacin chose free agency.
Feb 1, 2020: The Twins signed free agent Chacin.
July 19, 2020: The Twins released Chacin.
July 21, 2020: The Braves signed Chacin to a one-year deal for 2020.
Jan 6, 2021: The Yankees signed free agent Chacin.
April 1, 2021: The Rockies signed free agent Chacin.
Nov 3, 2021: Chacin chose free agency.
- Nov 13, 2021: The Rockies signed free agent Chacin for one year at $1.25 million.
|Birth City:||Maracaibo, Venezuela|
|Draft:||2006 - Rockies - Free agent|
Chacin has a four-seam 89-93 mph darting FASTBALL and a two-seamer that is in the 88-91 mph range that has very good sink, a sharp 12-to-6 overhand 77-79 mph CURVEBALL that has late movement, an 80-82 mph SLIDER, and an 85-88 mph CUTTER. He also has an excellent 82-85 mph CHANGEUP that has exceptional fading and tumbling action—very good two-plane break.
His change was so good because of his overpowering heater, but he's lost about 3 mph off his fastball since around 2011 and 2012. He throws both the fastball and changeup with the same arm action, but because there's now little separation in velocity, it no longer fools hitters as often. Jhoulys places it on either side of the plate very consistently, making it still hard for lefthanded hitters to hit.
In 2015, Jhoulys threw his 4-seam fastball 17.8% of the time, his sinker 26.5%, the slider 23.5%, the curve 4.5%, the change 8.2 percent of the time and his cutter 19.5 percent.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 12.7% of the time, his Sinker 35.3%; Change 2.1%; Slider 44.4%; Curve 1.2%; Cutter less than 1%; and Split 4.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 90.6 mph, Sinker 90.6, Change 83.4, Slider 79.9, Curve 76.1, Cutter 86.6, and Split 86.6 mph.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 13% of the time, his Sinker 30.6%; Slider 49.4%; Curve less than 1%; Cutter less than 1%; and Split 5.6% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 90.4 mph, Sinker 90.2, Slider 80.1, Curve 77, Cutter 87.3, and Split 83.2 mph.
- 2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 6.5% of the time, his Sinker 35.9%; Change 8.7%; Slider 46.7% and Curve 2.2% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 91 mph, Sinker 91.3, Change 79.2, Slider 80.4, and Curve 79.1 mph.
Jhoulys throws all of his pitches for strikes. He is not afraid to throw strikes because he is not afraid of contact. He has good command.
Chacin's strategy: staying in the strike zone and forcing at-bats to come to speedy conclusions.
"I really learned to pitch more for contact, and that's what I'm trying to do—make my pitch and get quick outs so I can throw more innings," Chacin said.
He has solid, repeatable mechanics and keeps the ball low in the zone. He comes at hitters from an excellent downhill plane. He gets a very high number of groundouts.
At times, he can rush his mechanics from the stretch and miss to his arm side. But he usually corrects himself.
Chacin is going to have very good command. He already does, except when he tries to live up to his hype and overthrows.
Chacin is a very intelligent pitcher who makes adjustments quickly. He is not afraid to challenge hitters and he is not afraid to pitch inside on them. He is a fearless competitor.
He is able to fool hitters with very good, late movement on his pitches.
"Every hitter that faces him thinks they've drawn a bead on him," Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "And right there at the point of no return, where you've got to swing, the ball changes a plane and it's a misfire for the hitter."
MLB debut (July 25, 2009): Pitching the ninth at Coors Field with an 8-2 lead, Jhoulysn walked Edgar Renteria with one out and then threw a wild pitch. But he struck out Nate Schierholtz and Juan Uribe.
The performance reminded Rockies manager Jim Tracy of Chacin's mound composure.
"I made a mental note of that as I observed this kid the entire time he was with us in spring training," Tracy said. "The one thing that I remember stating an awful lot in meetings is when you start talking about poise and mound presence, and things like that, not the pitching part of it, but just the way the kid handled himself. He handled himself like a pitcher that was well beyond his years. That's something that is going to allow him to grow at this level quicker."
"He keeps the ball down and he mixes it up just enough," the Phillies Cole Hamels said of Chacin. "You feel like you're on his fastball, but it just moves just enough. His slider is really good. If you're able to have two top-notch pitches, especially in this ballpark (Coors Field), that are going down and none of that going up in the zone, I think you're going to get away. You see in batting practice how far the balls fly, or just float, so guys want to jack them out. If you're able to pitch against that and get guys a little anxious, you'll have a pretty good ERA." (6/16/2013)
Chacin threw his first career shutout in his first career complete game on April 15, 2011.
2018 Improvements: Chacin threw a changeup in the Minor Leagues and in his first couple of seasons after he broke into the big leagues with the Rockies in 2009.
But he went away from it, and after spending parts of the last four seasons with six organizations, he is working with Milwaukee pitching coach Derek Johnson to once again feature a changeup in his repertoire.
In 2018, Jhoulys credits Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson with getting him to try a new offering, a splitter that serves as Chacin's change-of-pace pitch. "The split was all from him," Chacin said. "I never threw a splitter."
Chacin did throw a changeup, but it was inconsistent. Some days, he couldn't throw the pitch for a strike, and it hurt him against left-handed hitters. It was Johnson who one day suggested, "Why don't you throw a splitter?"
Chacin was a quick learner, since he already threw a two-seam sinker, and simply opened his fingers to throw the split.
There's not as much of a velocity gap as other pitchers. Chacin's split averages 86.5 mph according to Statcast, compared to around 90 mph for his fastball—but it works. Chacin broke out the pitch against a lefty-heavy Cubs lineup at Miller Park on June 13, when he pitched six innings of the Brewers' six-hit shutout in a 1-0 win.
"It worked that day," Chacin said. "I got a good feeling."
Besides varying his repertoire, Chacin occasionally varies his arm angle and pace to keep hitters off-balance. It's a combination that has worked for a pitcher who doesn't have the same velocity of younger, harder-throwing players in the game today.
"I think that is a confidence thing that you'll see," Brewers manager Counsell said. "When you're giving different looks and being creative on the mound, that's generally somebody who's pretty confident in what they're doing. I think Jhoulys is in a good spot."
"You're always trying to find new things to get better," Chacin said. (McCalvy - mlb.com - 8/23/2018)
March 14, 2019: Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell made it official: Jhoulys Chacín will start for the Brewers on Opening Day, March 28, against the Cardinals at Miller Park.
2019 Season: Chacin struggled to a 6.01 ERA with the Brewers and Red Sox.
July 21, 2020: Chacín has pitched for 7 teams over 11 big league seasons. That includes the Braves, for whom he made five starts in 2016. He was a reliable rotation piece for the Padres and Brewers in 2017-18, posting a 3.69 ERA over 67 starts. However, he struggled in 2019, with a 6.01 ERA over 103 innings split between the Brewers and Red Sox.
As of the start of the 2021 season, Chacin's career record was 78-87 with a 4.04 ERA, having allowed 1,227 hits and 141 home runs in 1,324 innings.
Jhoulys Chacín was signed by the Colorado Rockies right as Spring Training was ending and the regular season was about to begin.
When they signed him, he was expected to be their long reliever but by the end of June, he was one of the Rockies setup men. That was partially due to poor results from other Rockies relievers but also, it was because Chacín had pitched well, at least in the month of June.
Through May, Chacín had an ERA of 6.75 in only eight appearances. Despite not landing on the injured list, he only made three appearances in May, as he had 7, 10, and 13 days in between each appearance.
From June through the end of the season, though, Chacín was the Chacín that the Rockies saw in his first stint with the team from 2009 through 2014. He made 38 appearances (47 innings) and he had a 3.45 ERA, a 3.64 FIP, and opponents hit just .183/.266/.308 in that span.
Overall, he made 46 appearances and had a 4.34 ERA with a 4.63 FIP and a 110 ERA+. (Noah Yingling - March 1, 2022)
- May 2-August 21, 2012: Chacin was on the D.L. with a nerve issue in the right side of his chest and shoulder.
- April 20-May 5, 2013: Jhoulys was on the D.L. with a left lower-back strain.
Chacin was cruising on April 19 against Arizona when he stretched and grimaced after his 99th pitch. He grabbed his side after his 100th pitch and then left the contest.
February 22, 2014: Chacin was shut down by the Rockies because of inflammation in his throwing shoulder, undergoing an MRI that showed inflammation, but no structural damage.
March 29-April 30, 2014: Chacin started the season on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder strain.
June 29, 2014: Jhoulys was on the 60-day D.L. with an inflamed shoulder.
An MRI revealed a right rotator cuff strain and labral pathology in the form of fraying. The muscle strain is similar to what the team found in February, but more pronounced.
July 7, 2014: Chacin avoided surgery on his balky right shoulder, but he has instead been ordered to rest and rehab for four to six weeks before even starting another throwing program.
June 1-17, 2019: Chacin was on the IL with lower back strain.
July 25-Sept 1, 2019: Chacin was on the IL with a right oblique strain.
- July 16-28, 2021: Chacin was on the IL.