Chafin, 28, and his wife, Shelbi, welcomed their first child, a daughter, Addilyn, on August 1. He is 1-3 with 11 holds, a 1.67 ERA (7 ER in 37.2 IP), .198 opponent average and 37 strikeouts in 52 games this season for the D-backs. Among NL relievers, he is tied for third in games (52) and is ninth in ERA (1.67). He has held opponents scoreless in 20 of his last 22 games (1.06 ERA, 2 ER in 17.0 IP). Owings, 26, is hitting .198 (49-for-247)/.267 OBP/.287 SLG with 13 doubles, 3 homers, 19 RBI and 22 walks in 90 games for the D-backs this season.
Firstly: congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Chafin on the birth of their first-born!
That out of the way, it’s a bit of a shock to see Chris Owings being sent down to Reno. For since the start of 2014, only Paul Goldschmidt (689) has appeared in more games for the Diamondbacks than Owings (544). I was a bit surprised to discover he still apparently had three options. However, his offensive production has completely cratered this year: after OPS+ of 88 and 85 in 2016 and 2017, he has struggled to a figure of only 45 in 2018. CO has a triple-slash line of .198/.267/.287, for an OPS of just .555. After initially being a middle infielder, he was pressed into service in the outfield in 2016, and this year, 43 of Owings’s 58 starts have been there. He has played all three positions, but mostly in right-field.
It’s interesting that the team is opting to add an extra bullpen arm for the foreseeable future, and go with a shorter bench. The upcoming schedule doesn’t appear especially unrelenting, with off-days next Thursday 9th, then Wednesday 15th and Monday 20th after that. But perhaps it’s as much Torey Lovullo wanting to have a broader range of relief options to choose from, and it is an area where the team has struggled over the past couple of weeks. Since the beginning of July, the D-backs’ bullpen has an ERA of 5.11, compared to just 2.83 to that point in the year. In a tightly-fought race, both for the NL West and potentially also for a wild-card spot, every run counts.
Quite what the future holds for Owings is hard to say. I presume he’ll come back when the rosters expand at the beginning of September, but the team has quite a few outfield options who can hit better than what he has shown. He enters his final year of arbitration eligibility this winter, and based on his production this season so far (below replacement level both by bWAR and fWAR), might well be a non-tender candidate for Arizona.