The next entrant to the 2023 season preview list is right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt, who the Toronto Blue Jays recently signed to a three-year, $63M contract.
Addison Barger (story link)
Anthony Bass (story link)
First, a refresher on what projection systems we're going to take a look at.
Editor's note: since Bassitt was not on the Blue Jays yet when the first ZiPS projections came out, ZiPS will not be used in this piece.
Bassitt, 33, is an eight-year veteran of the game and has been seemingly getting better and better each year he's been in the league.
Durability has been a bit of a question mark for him over the years, as he's only made 30 starts one time in his career. However, he made 27 starts in 2021, going 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA and 131 ERA+ and followed this up with a 15-9 season to go along with a 3.42 ERA and 113 ERA+.
STEAMER: 31 GS, 11-10 record, 3.99 ERA, 160 SO and 50 BB in 180 innings
Clay Davenport: 29 GS, 11-8 record, 3.58 ERA, 153 SO and 48 BB in 176 innings
2022 stats: 30 GS, 15-9 record, 3.42 ERA, 167 SO and 49 BB in 181.2 innings
The projection systems have pretty similar thoughts about Bassitt but any of these lines would be great for him to put up in his first year as a Blue Jay.
With health finally on his side for multiple consecutive seasons, there's finally some real hope for him to turn into the starter that he's capable of becoming. He has finished in the top-10 in Cy Young voting in two of the past three seasons and made his first All-Star Game last year for the Mets.
What makes Bassitt unique amongst his fellow starters is his repertoire. Per PitcherList, he regularly mixes a whopping six different pitches into his starts. None of his offerings are thrown very hard but he is highly efficient at inducing soft contact.
His 72mph has huge, sweeping movement and is truly something to behold.
Baseball Savant is also high on Bassitt. His 2022 MLB Percentile Rankings show that he is one of the very best in the game at limiting soft contact.
In AVG Exit Velocity, he ranked in the 95th percentile in 2022 while ranking in the 87th percentile in HardHit%. He was also above-average in Barrel%, ranking in the 63rd percentile.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if Chris Bassitt is your No. 4 starter in any given year, you know your staff is pretty good. He's taken huge steps forward as he has aged and will be a solid contributor for this Blue Jays club at least for 2023 and 2024.
If there's an issue in Bassitt's contract, it's the fact that he is not getting any younger. If his career norm has shown anything, it's that he continues to get better year-to-year but the fact of the matter is he's going to be 37-years-old at the end of his contract which can be worrisome.
All the Jays and their fans can do is hope he looks more like Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA, 125 ERA+ at 37) and R.A. Dickey (20-6, 2.73 ERA, 139 ERA+) than someone like Jon Lester (7-6, 4.71 ERA, 85 ERA+ at 37) or A.J. Burnett (8-18, 4.59 ERA, 82 ERA+).