- Full name Christopher M. Bassitt
- Born 02/22/1989 in Toledo, OH
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 217 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Akron
- Debut 08/30/2014
Drafted in the 16th round (501st overall) by the Chicago White Sox in 2011.
View Draft ReportScouts didn't know much about righthander Chris Bassitt prior to this spring, because he redshirted in 2008 and made just one appearance while focusing on academics in 2010. He's no longer anonymous after posting a 1.42 ERA and averaging 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings as a fourth-year junior. The 6-foot-5, 195-pounder lives off his 90-93 mph sinker, which he delivers from a low-three-quarters arm angle. His second pitch is a slider, which grades as an average pitch at times.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Athletics acquired Bassitt from the White Sox in December's Jeff Samardzija trade, the third close-to-ready starting pitcher Oakland acquired in the offseason. He's somewhat similar to ex-Blue Jays Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin in that he was an under-the-radar prospect who had seen big league time in September 2014. Bassitt is a late-bloomer who burst on the amateur scene as a fourth-year junior in 2011 and was drafted as a reliever. The White Sox put him in the rotation in 2012 and his command actually improved, and a broken right hand at Double-A Birmingham in 2014 couldn't keep him from reaching the major leagues by season's end. Bassitt pushed his fastball up as hard as 96 mph even in a starting role, and it has solid life down in the zone. While he throws consistent strikes, he doesn't command the fastball enough for him to be a frontline starter. He's focused on a slider over a curve as his breaking ball, and it gives him an average second pitch. White Sox officials believed it would play up in the bullpen to make him a potential setup reliever. His changeup remains fringe-average but has some sink as well. Bassitt impressed again in the Arizona Fall League in a relief role, but the Athletics will give him a chance to win a spot at the back of their revamped 2015 rotation.
The White Sox scouted Bassitt somewhat by accident, seeing him as Akron's closer when he was pitching against Pittsburgh, where they were scouting Kevan Smith--who has been his catcher for most of the last two seasons at high Class A Winston-Salem. Bassitt never started in college, but the White Sox shifted him into the role in 2012 and he threw 149 innings in 2013. His loose arm and competitiveness helped, as did his ability to throw four pitches for strikes. His fastball reaches 93-95 mph in short bursts and more often sits at 90-93 with sink, though at times it flattens out when he loses his low-three-quarters arm slot. Bassitt lacks a wipeout secondary pitch. He throws both a slider and a curveball, though usually only one is working on a given night, and his changeup is fringe-average. His ability to make big pitches in big situations showed in minor league playoffs in the last two seasons, when he won all three of his starts and yielded one earned run in 19 innings with 19 strikeouts. Bassitt could be a back-end starter but more likely will return to his relief roots when he reaches Chicago. He's slated for the Double-A Birmingham rotation to open 2014.
Minor League Top Prospects
Bassitt made his major league debut with the White Sox last year, making five starts for the club, but Chicago included him in the package they sent to the Athletics for Jeff Samardzija. He began the year back in Triple-A and made two brief stints in the major leagues before taking over a spot in Oakland's rotation at the end of July. He was sidelined at the end of August by shoulder soreness. During his time in the minors, Bassitt learned how to take advantage of his 6-foot-5 frame and pitch with more leverage. That's helped his fastball, which sits in the mid-90s and can reach 98 mph. He also throws a power sinker and has a deep assortment of secondary offerings, as he'll mix in two breaking balls a changeup and, occasionally, a cutter. Bassitt pitched out of the bullpen early in his career and, prior to this season, many believed he would eventually return to relieving. But he's made the most of his opportunity to start and has many of the traits necessary to profile as a big league starter.