- Full name Jesse David Chavez
- Born 08/21/1983 in San Gabriel, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 175 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Riverside CC
- Debut 08/27/2008
- Drafted in the 42nd round (1,252nd overall) by the Texas Rangers in 2002.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Chavez was the Cubs' 39th-round pick in 2001 out of high school in Fontana, Calif. He went to nearby Riverside Community College but didn't sign with the Cubs. He went in the 42nd round to the Rangers in 2002 and they signed him just before the 2003 draft. The Pirates acquired Chavez in a deadline deal last year for Kip Wells, and he showed them enough that he was sent to the Arizona Fall League. Chavez' fastball reaches 95 mph, but he has trouble consistently throwing it for strikes. He also has trouble commanding his best pitch, a big-breaking curveball that's tough on righthanders. Lefties have more success against Chavez, and he needs to either add cutting action to his fastball or sharpen his changeup in order to combat that tendency. He's slightly built, and concerns about his durability caused the Rangers to move him to the bullpen in 2005. While Chavez has struggled at times while making the conversion, he has a good enough arm and competitiveness to pitch in middle relief in the major leagues after more seasoning in Triple-A this year.
Signed as a draft-and-follow before the 2003 draft, Chavez had a couple of mediocre seasons splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen in the low minors before finding his niche as a power reliever for high Class A Bakersfield in 2005. Chavez has a slight build similar to Julian Tavarez or Shigetoshi Hasegawa, though his father's bigger build suggests he still could fill out. Regardless, his arm is quick and his 92-94 mph fastball was clocked as high as 96 after his midseason promotion to Double-A Frisco. He threw just 88-91 as a starter in his first two seasons, and his power arm is clearly suited for short stints out of the pen. Chavez does a good job keeping his fastball down in the zone and complements it with a fringe-average yet hard-breaking slider. He must do a better job commanding all his pitches, particularly his slider. He plays around with a changeup and curveball, though his future is likely as a fastball/slider pitcher. His durability is a legitimate concern, so adding strength should be a priority. He got knocked around again in Double-A, so he'll start 2006 back in Frisco. Given Texas' need for pitching, a September callup to the majors isn't out of the question.