Bernie Pleskoff

Newly acquired Bassitt has repertoire, confidence of starter

Newly acquired Bassitt has repertoire, confidence of starter

Recently acquired Oakland Athletics pitching prospect Chris Bassitt is a long and lean right-hander with the ability to start or pitch in relief.

Bassitt was acquired by Oakland from the Chicago White Sox in a six-player trade on Tuesday. Right-handed pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa were sent to the White Sox in exchange for catcher Josh Phegley, first baseman Rangel Ravelo, infielder Marcus Semien and Bassitt.

Bassitt, is a lanky 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. He played all-league-caliber baseball and basketball for Genoa (Ohio) Area High School. He attended the University of Akron where he pitched in relief.

Even though they scouted him as a reliever, the White Sox selected Bassitt as a potential starter in the 16th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. In his fourth season as a professional, Bassitt was summoned to the parent White Sox. He made his debut pitching against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 30 this past year. He started the game and went 6 1/3 innings, yielding seven hits and five earned runs. In all, he started five of the six games in which he appeared. He finished the season with a record of 1-1 in 29 2/3 Major League innings.

Bassitt began his career in the White Sox farm system the way he concluded his collegiate years. He was in the bullpen for 34 2/3 innings pitching for Bristol in the Appalachian Rookie League, Kannapolis in Class A and Winston-Salem in Class A Advanced, all in his first season as a 22-year-old rookie. He had a 1.82 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with a record of 3-1. He struck out 41 and walked only eight.

The next year, the White Sox followed their plan for him and Bassitt got his first taste as a starting pitcher. He started ten of the 38 games in which he pitched as he returned to Winston-Salem for the entire season. He worked in 91 innings and yielded only 74 hits. From that year on, Bassitt has served all but two of 35 games as a starter.

Bassitt pitched in the 2013 Arizona Fall League, where he did very well. I was able to scout Bassitt again in the recently concluded AFL. This year, he once again returned to the Glendale Desert Dogs. A number of starting pitchers from other clubs were assigned to the team as well. They included his teammate, Francellis Montas. With an abundance of starters, Bassitt pitched in six games, all of them in relief. He yielded only nine hits in 13 innings and finished with an ERA of 0.69. Walking only three while striking out 22, an effective Bassitt had a 0.92 WHIP.

Using a low three-quarters arm angle, Bassitt has a complete repertoire. There are times he isn't able to repeat his delivery and the ball straightens out. That results in less consistent command and more line drives off the opposition's bats.

Bassitt uses a 93 mph fastball, an 83 mph changeup, an 84 mph slider and a nice 73 mph curveball. Because of his sharp command and control, he isn't afraid to use any of his pitches at any point in the count. Most of the time, he uses his four-seam and two-seam fastballs to set up his slider. The sharp, sweeping slider is his second-most-used pitch. But if he gets ahead in the count, the hitter has to look for the curveball, and more sparingly, the changeup. His two-seam fastball is used to induce ground balls with great success. As I view his future, his vast repertoire and his confidence in his pitches helps project Bassitt more as a starter than reliever.

Bassitt is very tough on right-handed hitters. As a general rule, throughout his career, he has fared better against them than against lefties. That may be one factor that could dictate his future career role. If he scuffles against left-handed hitters as a starting pitcher, he may find immediate success returning to the bullpen either in a situational role or as a long reliever.

Bassitt has certainly shown enough ability to be given very serious consideration to break Spring Training with the big league club.

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.