In a Diamondbacks system brimming with blue-chip pitching prospects, lefthander Andrew Chafin may be the forgotten man at times, but he earned a turn in the spotlight on Monday. The 21-year-old struck out 12 hitters over seven innings for high Class A Visalia, giving up two runs on eight hits to improve his ERA to 3.20.
Chafin didn’t figure in the decision but has yet to suffer a defeat in this, his first full season as a pro, having started the year 3-0 in nine starts. Monday’s performance against Bakersfield marked the second time he’s struck out 12 in a game this year, having also accomplished the feat on April 28, though he’s been a bit all-or-nothing lately when it comes to whiffs. His strikeout totals from his last five starts (each of which saw him go at least five innings) read: 12-1-7-1-12. His dozen on Monday moved him into the California League lead with 66 in 50 2/3 innings. He also completely reversed course from his last start on May 16, when he not only had just one strikeout but handed out seven walks. He didn’t walk anyone on Monday.
The real Chafin likely lies in between the one that strikes out 12 in a game and one that strikes out only one. A supplemental first-round pick last year from Kent State, Chafin’s delivery makes scouts think a move to the bullpen is in his future. But his arsenal, led by a low 90s fastball from the left side, is deep enough from him to last as a starter and his results have been solid so far after going to the unforgiving environs of the Cal League with just one pro appearance under his belt.