The Rise and Struggles of Yonny Chirinos: A 2023 Braves Season in Review

Unearthing hidden gems in the baseball world is every team's dream, and sometimes, the stars align to bring a struggling player into the spotlight. Enter Yonny Chirinos, the enigmatic pitcher whose journey from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Atlanta Braves left fans on the edge of their seats. With a blend of hope, uncertainty, and the desire for redemption, Chirinos' acquisition stirred the baseball world. From injury setbacks to flashes of brilliance, this is the captivating tale of Chirinos' quest to reclaim his place on the mound. Join us as we delve into the rollercoaster ride that defined his 2023 season and explore what lies ahead for this determined hurler. Hold on tight, baseball enthusiasts, because this is a story you won't want to miss.

The Atlanta Braves' Acquisition of Yonny Chirinos

The Atlanta Braves made a move to bolster their pitching rotation when they acquired Yonny Chirinos from the Tampa Bay Rays. The Braves claimed Chirinos off of waivers on July 23. This acquisition was part of their season-long search to fill the fifth spot in their rotation. Chirinos, who came over from the Rays, had shown promising small-sample peripherals, but unfortunately, he wasn't as effective as expected and ended up on the Injured List.

Chirinos' Performance and Expectations

Prior to joining the Braves, Chirinos had struggled with injuries and had limited playing time. He had thrown only seven innings total between the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to elbow issues. However, the Braves took a chance on him as a waiver claim due to his potential upside. Despite his poor performance with the Rays, the Braves hoped that Chirinos could provide some bulk replacement-level pitching and help fill out the fifth spot in the rotation. However, his low strikeout rate and high walk rate raised doubts about his ability to effectively solve the Braves' pitching problems.

Chirinos' Results and Stats for the 2023 Season

After being claimed by the Braves, Chirinos made five starts for the team. Unfortunately, he struggled on the mound, allowing 23 runs in just 22 1/3 innings. His performance resulted in an unimpressive 209 ERA- and a 122 FIP-. Despite these less-than-stellar numbers, Chirinos managed to earn 0.1 fWAR as a Brave. This indicates just how low replacement level for a starter has become in today's game. However, his stint with the Braves was cut short when he was placed on the Injured List with elbow inflammation in August.

One positive aspect was that, prior to the third time through the order, Chirinos' peripherals were actually decent. His FIP and xFIP before that point in the game were respectable, suggesting that he had the potential to be effective in the early innings. Unfortunately, his performance declined when facing batters beyond the 18th and his overall FIP and xFIP suffered as a result.

Positive Aspects and Improvements in Chirinos' Performance

Despite Chirinos' overall struggles, there were some positive aspects to his performance. One notable improvement was his increased strikeout rate as a Brave. In the 22 1/3 innings he pitched for the team, he managed to raise his strikeout rate to 21 percent, which was a significant improvement from his time with the Rays. Additionally, his walk rate decreased to 6.7 percent, getting closer to his career average. These improvements were a small silver lining in an otherwise disappointing season.

Furthermore, Chirinos showed some potential in limiting runs and generating outs before the third time through the order. His FIP and xFIP in those situations were relatively solid, indicating that he had the ability to keep hitters in check early on. However, his effectiveness diminished after that point, resulting in inflated numbers for the entire outing.

Chirinos' Struggles and Challenges Faced

While Chirinos returned to the mound after his previous injury setbacks, his performance was far from ideal. This was evident both during his time with the Rays and the Braves. Although he had a decent xFIP, his FIP was still problematic, particularly when facing batters beyond the 18th. His struggles in those situations led to inflated FIP and xFIP numbers, contributing to his overall underwhelming performance.

  • Challenges in Retiring Batters: In four out of his five starts where he faced batter number 19 or beyond, Chirinos struggled to retire batters effectively. This led to additional runs being scored and put his team at a disadvantage.
  • Limited Success Against Opponents: One notable example of Chirinos' struggles was his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After giving up multiple home runs early in the game, he was asked to continue pitching, which led to further damage. Although he managed to prevent additional runs in that particular inning, his overall performance highlighted the challenges he faced when dealing with opponents.

Outlook for Yonny Chirinos in 2024

As the offseason approached, Chirinos became eligible for arbitration. However, the Braves decided to designate him for assignment on November 14, making room for injured reliever Penn Murfee. Chirinos will turn 30 in December and is currently pitching in winter ball, looking for an opportunity with another team for the upcoming season. Despite his struggles in 2023 and ongoing elbow problems, there is still potential for him to find success in the major leagues. His pitches showed promise, and with the right guidance and health, he could bounce back and contribute to a team's success.

According to Steamer projections, Chirinos could potentially serve as a part-time fourth starter in the coming season. While this projection may appear optimistic considering his struggles in 2023, it acknowledges that there are elements of his game worth building upon. Chirinos' pitches themselves were not terrible, and with further development and improvements, he may be able to find success once again.

The Resilient Journey of Yonny Chirinos

In the tumultuous world of baseball, where triumphs and setbacks often intertwine, Yonny Chirinos' story serves as a testament to resilience and the unwavering pursuit of redemption. Through injuries and struggles, Chirinos fought his way back, leaving a lasting impression on both teammates and fans alike. As the curtain falls on the 2023 season, the future remains uncertain for this determined pitcher. Will he regain his form and become a force to be reckoned with once again? Only time will tell. As we bid farewell to the rollercoaster ride that defined Chirinos' year, let us remember that in baseball, as in life, it is the unwavering determination and indomitable spirit that lend brilliance to a player's journey. So, fellow baseball enthusiasts, keep your eyes peeled, for the reemergence of an underdog holds a magic all its own.

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