Chavez could potentially fill a starting role in the near future, the Toronto Star reports. The option of sending Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen becomes more muddy by the day, but if Toronto does indeed move him, the Chavez may get a big boost in fantasy value. The right-hander started 46 games for Oakland over the past two seasons, going 15-23 with a 3.83 ERA. He's a solid candidate for the job if the team decides to stay within the organization to find pitching help. However, there are so many variables associated with the situation that make it too early to jump the gun on assuming Chavez's fantasy value will rise in the near future.
Chavez has posted a respectable 3.41 ERA and 1.19 WHIP while striking out 35 over 34.1 innings during the first half of 2016. A year removed from starting 26 games in Oakland, Chavez has smoothly adjusted to his role in Toronto's bullpen. His ERA and WHIP are both career bests. In addition, the right-hander is issuing less walks than ever before while pumping his average fastball (93.4 mph) at its highest speed since 2010. With that said, he's been on the brighter side of luck so far, with an 80-percent strand rate (career 71 percent) and a .288 BABIP (career .317) that both the best he's had in any of his nine MLB campaigns. Furthermore, Chavez did stumble to the first-half finish line, so beware that he's a prime candidate for a second-half regression.
Chavez allowed two runs, three hits and a walk while recording just one out in Monday's loss to the Rockies. Just when it looked like he was finally pulling it all together, Chavez has a disastrous stretch to put himself back in manager John Gibbons' doghouse. In five appearances since June 19, Chavez has given up six runs on eight hits over 3.2 innings. Gibbons may have no choice but to deploy the right-handed reliever in low-leverage situations going forward.
Thanks to a mechanical adjustment, Chavez has seemingly overcome his early season struggles, Sportsnet reports. The 32-year-old didn't make clear the specific changes in mechanics, but the righty made reference to his arm slot and grip. Chavez thinks the mechanical issue cropped up because he started his off-season routine late this winter as he was recovering from a broken rib. From May 28 through June 18 he strung together 11 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, a stretch that saw opposition hitters bat .139/.184/.139 against him.
Since returning from a three-game suspension for his role in the May 15 brawl with the Rangers, Chavez has allowed an earned run in just one of his five appearances. Chavez holds a 3.20 ERA through 20 appearances this season, and has three holds to go along with one blown save. The Jays offense and bullpen has been improve as of late, and Chavez should see his fair share of opportunities. He's made four appearances (five innings) over the team's past eight games.
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