Blue Jays: Chris Bassitt has shown he can bounce back quickly in more ways than one

Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels - Chris Bassitt
Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels - Chris Bassitt / Harry How/GettyImages

During the 2022 offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Chris Bassitt to a three-year, $63M contract to bolster their starting rotation, with Ross Stripling heading to the San Francisco Giants in free agency. Bassitt was one of the top pitching free agents available at the time, so this was a huge deal for the Jays.

In Bassitt, the Jays believed he would bring stability and consistency to their rotation. Despite having a fastball now that only tops out at 93mph, he possesses a whole set of pitches in his repertoire that includes a sinker, slider, curveball, cutter, and changeup that he utilizes effectively to complement his fastball to get hitters out. But because he could also offer some of those pitches using different arm angles and velocities, many have attributed to him having more than eight different pitch types in his arsenal. In doing so, he has pitched effectively for the past five seasons with the Oakland Athletics and New York Mets, going 44-23, with an ERA consistently below 3.50 in four of the five seasons, and at the same time, maintaining close to a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Chris Bassitt, also known as "Mr. Bounceback"

Bassitt possessed the ability to bounce back with strong starts following a subpar outing, as clearly exemplified in his tenure with the Mets last year. Following any game in which he had given up four or more earned runs in the previous start, Bassitt’s record was 4-0, and averaging 6.2 innings, giving up less than one earned run, two walks and six strikeouts in those starts. As a result, the Jays were confident they had a very unique and valuable pitcher on hand.

However, in his first start as a Jay in 2023, Bassitt had one of his worst starts in his career, going only 3.1 innings and giving up 10 hits and nine runs, including four home runs. What was more worrisome was the way he gave up all those hits, as it looked like he was serving up batting practice with his pitches. As a result, because that start was so horrendous, it made Jays’ fans across the nation quickly ponder if they had made a huge bad investment without even giving him a chance to redeem himself. So would "Mr. Bounceback” be held be true to his name?

Lo and behold, in his following four starts, Bassitt would produce four consecutive quality starts, going 3-1 with an ERA of 2.19, a WHIP below 1.2, and an opponents’ batting average of just .149, giving up only six earned runs in total, with 21 strikeouts over 24.2 innings. That certainly gave the Jays’ fans a quick huge sigh of relief, but to Bassitt, he was never even fazed by it because he knew he had that ability to do it, as he had done throughout his career.

Not only is Bassitt able to bounce back quickly from bad starts, apparently he could bounce back quickly after an injury scare as well from this past Monday’s game. He appeared quite uncomfortable at the time when he left the game after delivering a pitch in the 7th inning. His injury turned out to be lower back tightness, but he adamantly stated he will not miss his next start coming up this weekend, which is great news for all Jays’ players and fans.

In addition, it appears as though Bassitt could also make valuable contributions to the team in more ways than one, as apparently he possesses some hidden “Gold Glove” talent too, as he put his defensive instincts on full display here:

Nevertheless, Bassitt has been a welcome addition to the current Jays’ starting rotation, which by the way, has been collectively outstanding ever since Bassitt’s start in Houston last week. Hopefully, he can keep at it when he is back later this week and continue his success in helping the Jays reach their ultimate goal in the end.