Red Sox free-agent target – RP Andrew Chafin
Left-handed relief pitching was not supposed to be a need for the Red Sox. Southpaws Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor both debuted in the 2019 season and quickly became two of the team’s best relievers. But while Taylor has continued to succeed as the team’s primary lefty reliever, Hernandez has struggled mightly with injuries (48 innings over the last two years) and control (7.0 BB/9 in 2021).
While Hernandez is coming off a rocky season, Andrew Chafin posted the best numbers of his career in 2021. In 68 1/3 fantastic innings between the Cubs and Athletics, Chafin had a career-low 1.83 ERA and 2.5 BB/9. The key to his success was getting batters to swing at pitches out of the zone, as he ranked in the 89th percentile in chase rate. While Chafin was one of the best in baseball at getting fellow lefties out, he was equally adept at retiring righties, holding them to a .196 batting average and a .551 OPS.
The 2021 Red Sox were built on under-the-radar acquisitions that exceeded all expectations. Enrique Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, Nick Pivetta, and Adam Ottavino all came to Boston without much fanfare, but each played a significant role in the team’s playoff runs. A relative unknown at a position without much glamor, Chafin could be another one of those pieces and fill a major hole on the team’s roster.