Blue Jays pitching prospect Guadalupe (Lupe) Chavez broke through with a strong first season of rookie ball, and his potential is now gaining real attention
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Mexican right-hander Guadalupe Chavez burst onto the Toronto prospect scene in 2015 as an 18-year-old. Across two levels of rookie ball, Chavez made 13 starts and one relief appearance for a total of 61.1 IP and a 2.79 ERA.
Name: Guadalupe Chavez
Position: SP Age: 18
Height: 6’2” Age: 150 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: International signing, 2014
Chavez was signed in July of 2014, transitioning from the outfield to the mound while developing as a young player in Mexico.
“He’s a good athlete with a skinny 6-foot-2, 150-pound frame and already throws up to 93 mph while flashing an above-average changeup that’s ahead of his curveball, with good pitchability for his experience level,” wrote Ben Badler of Baseball America at the time of the signing.
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Chavez began the year in the DSL where he threw 42.1 innings, holding opposing hitters to a .250 average and striking out 45 along the way. He also kept his walks relatively in control, an area that can be troublesome for many arms of his age. This fits with the scouting reports of his advanced mound maturity.
After advancing to the GCL, Chavez would pitch 19.0 innings to a 2.37 ERA. At that level he posted 14 strikeouts while allowing just six walks.
The most impressive statistic of Chavez’s 2015 season may be the big ‘zero’ in the category of home runs allowed. Given Toronto’s recent aggression with promoting young pitching talent and the recent purge of prospects around him, he could be in the right place at the right time. Bluefield should be the likeliest spot for Chavez to spend the majority of his 2016.
Chavez will face all the same challenges that any talented teenager will: control, developing strong secondary pitches and adapting to stronger levels of competition. A challenge unique to him could be his build, however.
Much like Jesse Chavez with the MLB club (who stands six-foot-two, 160 pounds), Lupe Chavez could really afford to add some bulk to his frame. There’s certainly room, too, at 6’2″. Having only 150 pounds on that frame could result in extended strain on his body long-term, but at his age, there is plenty of time for physical maturation as he climbs the ladder.