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What Toronto Can Expect from Chris Bassitt

Chris Bassitt is one of the players that the Toronto Blue Jays have brought in to shape their starting rotation. Bassitt has been a major-league starter since 2014. After being drafted by the Chicago White Sox, he played a handful of games with the White Sox before being dealt to OaklandAs someone who spent most of his career with the Oakland Athletics and New York Mets, the 34-year-old brings stability and consistency to the Blue Jays’ pitching staff. It’s one of the reasons why that landed him a three-year, $63-million contract.

A Look at Chris Bassitt

His Career

With Oakland, he was there from 2015 to 2021 before heading to the New York Mets for 2022. Bassitt is a one-time All-Star and finished in the top 10 of the Cy Young voting two times. His career ERA is 3.45 and has never been above 3.94. In 2022, the right-hander threw 181 and 2/3 innings with a 3.42 ERA, 167 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.145. What’s notable about Bassitt is his walk rate of 6.6% in 2022. In addition, he has a career ERA+ of 118.

Pitch Use

Chris Bassitt has seven different pitches in his repertoire. The sinker is his primary pitch which averages around 92 miles per hour. Although, we have seen the sinker less as the years go on. In 2017, he threw the slider 43 percent of the time, but in 2022 he only threw it one-third of the time. However, he throws this pitch to get back in the count. His secondary pitch is his cutter averaging around 89 mph. He uses this pitch more against left-handed hitters. Additionally, there is his curveball, which averages around 72 mph, he would use this more following his trade to the Mets. Bassitt also has a fastball, which he will use when he has two strikes.

Experience for the Rotation

As someone who has spent time in the AL, he has faced a number of opponents in the AL East. Throughout his career, he has a 3.00 ERA against the New York Yankees, a 2.57 ERA against the Boston Red Sox, a 2.36 ERA against the Baltimore Orioles, and a 2.30 ERA against the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2022 against the American League, he had a 1.98 ERA. 

Aside from his familiarity with his division foes, Bassitt offers a nice arsenal of pitches. His primary pitch is the sinker, which he used 34% last season. Then his cutter at 17.2%, slider at 16.3%, a curveball at 13.9%, four-seam fastball at 13.1% and changeup at 6.1%. Altogether, this allows Bassitt to attack different parts of the strike zone, something needed to exploit the hitter’s weakness in this particular division.

2023 Expectations

One of the biggest questions surrounding the right-hander is how he fits into the rotation. Looking at pitchers like Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman, it’s likely that he will be a middle-of-the-rotation guy. According to Baseball-Reference, here are his projected stat lines- 12-7, 3.40 ERA, 167 IP, 150 SO, 1.162 WHIP, 8.4 SO/9.

Obviously, the comparison is made with former Toronto starter Ross Stripling. While Stripling was a significant loss to the rotation, Bassitt is the same age and throws 25-30 more innings than Stripling while keeping a lower ERA. The key to Bassitt is consistency as there aren’t huge fluctuations in seasons. Chris Bassitt is someone who gets better as the season progresses. Bassitt is going to be a great fit with the Blue Jays and for the next three seasons, help the Blue Jays compete to become the American League’s best. 

Main Photo Credits:

Mike Watters-USA Today Sports

Players mentioned:

Chris Bassitt, Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, Ross Stripling


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