Andrew Chafin is the gift that keeps on giving. If there was a stat for Belovedness/Games Played, the laid-back lefty might sit atop those charts alongside Nicholas Castellanos. Chafin may be closing games for the A’s now, but at least we get to enjoy the two prospects he brought to the Cubs: Greg Deichmann and Daniel Palencia.
With all due respect for Deichmann, who made his MLB debut in Chicago earlier this year and figures to play a role for the next couple of years, this post is about bragging on Palencia. Often described as a throw-in piece and not appearing on any Cubs top 30 prospects lists, the 21-year-old righty got off to a rough start as a part of his new organization.
And I do mean rough, as in walking 13 batters and allowing nine runs in 12.1 innings over his first four outings. Since then, however, he has walked just five in his last 14.2 innings as he works deeper into starts. Those improvements culminated during his final outing of the season on Saturday night that saw him go five scoreless innings with just one hit, one walk, and seven strikeouts.
Better yet, Palencia threw 51 strikes out of 75 pitches and got an absurd 18 swings and misses. I repeat: Batters whiffed EIGHTEEN times on his pitches. Below you can see every single one of them.
Daniel Palencia last night: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K on 75 pitches.
He generated 18 (!) swinging strikes. Here’s every single one of them. pic.twitter.com/StPnrlvkpw
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) September 19, 2021
Palencia has shown the ability to hold his upper-90s velocity deep into his starts and, as you can tell from the video, he has offspeed pitches that can be truly devastating. With a fastball, cutter, curveball combination that could continue to play well in the rotation, it is just a matter of him controlling his nasty stuff.
The ability to do that means he might not be absent from top prospect lists for much longer. Giving up a fan favorite is always tough, but the Cubs got back a guy who might just end up being the steal of the trade deadline.