I'll admit the trade of Liam Hendriks for Jesse Chavez surprised me.
Hendriks was so good last season. He had a 2.92 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. I was looking forward to seeing him pitch in a more important role this year. He never really seemed to win Gibby's confidence, but, I thought a new season, a new chance to impress the manager. Maybe it wouldn't have happened, first impressions are hard to forget.
We had Chavez once. He didn't impress. 8.44 ERA in 9 games (2 starts), 21.1 innings, 25 hits, 6 home runs, 10 walks and 27 strikeouts. Pretty much facing him either walked, homered or struck out.
Banished to Oakland, he pitched out of the bullpen, in 2013 and was ok, 3.92 ERA, 57.1 innings, 20 walks and 55 strikeouts.
In 2014, he started the season in the rotation, and was pretty impressive, for the first half of the season, but seemed to hit the wall in July. At the end of June, he had a 2.94 ERA in 16 starts, a total of 98. In 5 July starts, he had a 5.20 ERA and back to the bullpen he went..
In 2015, he started the season in the pen but moved to the rotation before the end of April. Again, at the start of the season, he looked great. 2.11 ERA at the end of May. June wasn't as good, a 4.85 ERA. And the second half of the season was terrible, 5.59 ERA in 11 starts.
Two seasons isn't much of a sample size, but those are the only two seasons he's pitched over 100 innings.
I'll admit, I'm kind of hoping that we aren't planning on him throwing 150 or more innings. I'm hoping Drew Hutchison or Aaron Sanchez have a great spring and one of them wins the 5th starter job. Or, if Chavez wins it, I'm hoping that Hutchison goes to Buffalo and is lights out there, and gets promoted quick.
So that's the big question for Chavez: how many starts will he make and how many innings will he pitch?
I'd likely put the over/under at 8 starts and 90 innings.
The other question is...Jesse's biggest problem, for the few minutes he was a Blue Jay in 2012, was all the fly balls leaving the park. He gave up 6 home runs in 21.1 innings. Over 25% fly balls, hit off of him, left the park (yeah very small sample size). The last couple of years, as a Oakland A, pitching in a bigger park, about 11% of the fly balls hit off him left the park. Moving back to the smaller Rogers Centre, he has to keep the ball in the park.
It should interesting. Chavez does get a lot of strikeouts. I like pitchers that get strikeouts. If he is used in a shorter relief roles, maybe he can duplicate what Liam did.