The Angels bought low on Jesse Chavez to fill out their pitching staff as they try to navigate what will probably be a difficult year, giving the veteran a one-year, $5.75 million deal early in the offseason. After spending 2014 and 2015 working mostly as a starter for Oakland, Chavez didn't start a single game in 2016 between Toronto and Los Angeles. The results in the bullpen were less than encouraging. While he saw a tick up in velocity and strikeout-to-walk ratio, he still posted a 4.43 ERA and 4.49 FIP in 67 total innings. That resulted in the Dodgers leaving him off their playoff roster, and although he will get a chance to return to a starting role in Anaheim, Chavez will need to hold his own to keep a rotation spot all year. At least the spacious home park should help some with his home run issues.
Chavez was the winning pitcher of record Monday, tossing six shutout innings while walking none and striking out three in a win over the Diamondbacks. The 33-year-old wrapped up his final outing in Arizona on a strong note, lowering his Cactus League ERA to 2.51 with 12 strikeouts in 14.1 innings. The righty appears to be at the top of his game right now, hitting 96 mph on the radar gun for the first time this spring. Chavez has already locked up the Angels' fifth starter role out of camp, giving him some deep-league value as a pitcher who can generate strikeouts at a decent clip (8.0 career K/9). On the flip side, he can be too aggressive in the strike zone at times (4.54 career ERA and 1.3 HR/9), keeping him off of standard league radars until he shows a string of consistency.
Chavez will open the season in the Angels' rotation, the Orange County Register reports. He was solid enough this spring to hold off competition from Alex Meyer and Bud Norris to make the rotation. Chavez's best years came in 2014 and 2015 with division rival Oakland, in which he posted a combined 3.83 ERA over 303 innings. If the Angels can get that level of performance from Chavez, they should be very happy with their investment.
Chavez threw 68 pitches in a minor league game Friday, while his main competition, Bud Norris, was told he will no longer follow a starting pitcher's rest schedule, the Orange County Register reports. Chavez was already considered the frontrunner to win the Angels' fifth starter job, but the organization's usage of the pitchers Friday only increases that likelihood. The 33-year-old pitcher won't generate much fantasy buzz outside of deep leagues, but there is strikeout potential in his arm as a potential streamer or as a cheap DFS option in strong matchups. We will have to wait for an official announcement to be made, but Chavez appears to be the pitcher to target if you were following this competition.
Chavez had a solid outing Sunday, giving up two runs on four hits in his four innings of work. He struck out three and walked none in a win over the Mariners. Chavez has been average at best this spring, posting a 4.32 ERA with nine strikeouts in his 8.1 innings of work. Even with the mediocre results, he remains the front-runner for the Angels' fifth rotation spot. His main competition, Bud Norris, has missed time with a finger injury and hasn't been effective on the mound this spring (6.23 ERA in 4.1 innings). It's still early, and things can change, but Chavez is the guy to target in deeper formats for seekers of cheap strikeouts.
Chavez made his second spring training start Monday, going 2.1 innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits while notching three strikeouts in a loss to the Cubs. In just two starts, Chavez has given us a brief glimpse of both the upside and downside he provides as a starter. His first outing went without a hitch, tossing two clean innings and striking out three. This time around, the veteran pitcher was far too hittable in his 2.1 innings of work. The saving grace for a pitcher like Chavez is that he will rarely put himself in a situation where he is letting hitters get on base without taking the bat off their shoulders. He remains in the thick of the race for the Angels final rotation spot.