- July 30, 2021: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 7 K
Notching his American League-leading 11th win of the season, Chris set a new career high for wins in a single season, surpassing his previous career-best total of 10, earned in the 2019 campaign.
|DOB:||2/22/1989||Agent:||Pro Star Management|
|Birth City:||Toledo, OH|
|Draft:||White Sox #16 - 2011 - Out of Univ. of Akron (OH)|
Bassitt's high school in Clay, Ohio had an enrollment of less than 600.
"I understand why no one recruited me," Chris said in 2013. "I came from a small high school. I didn’t go to any of the camps, which was a big mistake. I didn’t put my name out there. I didn’t do the work.
“I wasn’t able to be seen, so it was a fluke. I threw well against one of the schools in Ohio, and that’s how I got to my college. But I don’t have any grudges against any college that didn’t recruit me.”
Bassitt went to the University of Akron. In 2011, he posted a 1.42 ERA and averaged 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He was then chosen by the White Sox in the 16th round, and signed.
"I took (getting picked in the 16th round) as more of an honor,” Bassitt said. “I didn’t care about the money or the round I was picked. It was just an honor of getting the opportunity of what I wanted to do. It again was proving to myself what I was.”
In 2014, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Bassitt as the 15th-best propect in the White Sox organization.
May 21, 2019: Chris started a game in Detroit with a group of about 70 friends and family members from his nearby hometown of Toledo, Ohio, cheering him on from a lower-level section near home plate at Comerica Park. It was special for him, but that was nothing compared to the butterflies he felt before he pitched 3 2/3 innings in a 5-3 Oakland win at Progressive Field.
Bassitt grew up a die-hard Cleveland sports fan. And the Indians of the 1990s and early 2000s held a special place in his heart.
“I came to some games here,” Bassitt said. “It was easy to root for the Indians in the '90s, with Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, CC [Sabathia], Cliff Lee, Manny [Ramirez]. Top to bottom, they had an 8-10-year run that was unreal to watch. I grew up loving this team, so it’s fun.
“Pitching here is surreal because, growing up, that’s all I watched. Everyone watched the Braves or Yankees because they were always on TV, but whenever the Indians were on, I was always watching them.”
To go from loving a team to trying to beat that team in its own stadium is a weird feeling, but Bassitt has actually done it once before. In his first start at Progressive Field, on July 11, 2015, he got a no-decision in the A’s 5-4 win over the Indians, allowing just two runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.
The first time is always a little more special, but Bassitt doesn’t expect his second start in Cleveland, or any other start there after this, to diminish the feeling he gets when he takes the mound at the ballpark of his childhood.
“This place will always hold a special place in my heart,” Bassitt said. “I feel like the team you grew up watching will always be special to you, and if you don’t play for them, playing against them is still pretty fun.”
The group of supporters won’t be as large as the one that came out to watch Bassitt hold the Tigers scoreless over a career-high eight innings last week, but given the many friends he made in his time at nearby University of Akron, he expects another large round of cheers as he takes the mound for Oakland.
“I’ll definitely have a good amount here,” Bassitt said. “For the amount of family that won’t be coming, I’ll have a lot of friends coming. It’s still pretty close to home.” (M Gallegos - MLB.com - May 21, 2019)
September 4, 2019: Chris was away from the team to be with his wife, Jessica, who gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Landry Jayne. Bassitt will be given a few days of extra rest before returning to start September 7, 2019, against the Tigers. “He’ll be on his way back tomorrow,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Bassitt. “We’ll give him a day to acclimate and push him back.” (Gallegos - mlb.com)
A's biggest trash talker: A mini-basketball hoop sits atop Sean Manaea’s locker inside the A’s clubhouse. The pregame hoops sessions are usually pretty lively regardless, but things tend to turn up a notch whenever Bassitt is around, as he often challenges fellow teammates to shooting contests. That's when the trash talking comes out, with Bassitt constantly razzing opponents as a tactic to throw off their concentration. (MLB.com - Apr. 29, 2020)
July 10, 2021: In his seventh season in the Majors, Chris Bassitt has made his first All-Star Game. He was chosen as a replacement for the All-Star Game.
Bassitt has been steadily productive since reaching the Majors with the White Sox in 2014, posting a career 3.55 ERA -- and only one season with an ERA above 4.00. From 2016-18, he threw only 75 2/3 innings, with a Tommy John surgery wedged in the middle of it. But since then, he's emerged as one of Oakland’s best arms, and now he’s receiving leaguewide recognition for it.
“A lot’s been documented on where he’s come from in his career to where he is now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He was pretty emotional after his first shutout, leading the way as a starter the last year and a half. This kind of culminates all that hard work and perseverance. (J Horrobin - MLB.com - July 10, 2021)
June 2011: The White Sox drafted Bassitt in the 16th round, out of the University of Akron in Ohio.
December 9, 2014: The A's sent Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox; acquiring infielder Marcus Semien, Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley, and first baseman Rangel Ravelo.
Jan 10, 2020: Chris and the A's avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $2.25 million.
- Jan 15, 2021: Bassitt and the A's avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $4.9 million.
Bassitt has a 90-94 mph two-seam SINKER, a 93-97 mph four-seamer. He has a near-average 84-87 mh SLIDER and a 71-74 mph CURVEBALL, but between the two pitches, he uses only the one that is working better on that night. His 83-85 mph CHANGEUP is fringe-average. (Spring, 2018)
At times his fastball flattens out when he loses his low-three-quarters arm slot. His curve comes in below hitting speed, has sweeping glove-side movement and is an extreme flyball pitch. His slider results in more flyballs (than ground balls), is much harder than usual and has less than expected depth. His cutter has strong cutting action. His change has slight armside fade.
Broadening his pitch assortment away from a simple fastball/slider combination was one of his key adaption tasks when he converted from the bullpen to starting a few years ago. Also since his secondary pitches are fly ball pitches, it is quite interesting for a guy who relies a great deal on sinkers and has such low home run rates.
if he can shave a few walks off his ratios and stay healthy, Bassitt could be a decent back-end starter. If he does break out, the first indicator would probably be a higher strikeout rate. (July 2015)
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 21.3% of the time; Sinker 40.4% of the time; Change 7.6%; Slider 13%; and Curve 17.7% of the time.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: Did not pitch
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 13.3% of the time; Sinker 44.1%; Change 4.3%; Slider 25%; and his Curve 13.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93 mph, Sinker 92.5, Change 83.7, Slider 87.1, and Curve 71.6 mph.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 24.3% of the time; Sinker 40.6%; Change 8.4%; Slider less than 1%; his Curve 12.7%; and Cutter 13.6% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 94.3 mph, Sinker 93.5, Change 85.3, Slider 84.9, Curve 70.6, and Cutter 88.7 mph.
2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 15.4% of the time; Sinker 38.2%; Change 9.8%; Slider 3.7%; his Curve 9.6%; and Cutter 23.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.8 mph, Sinker 93, Change 84, Slider 76, Curve 70.2, and Cutter 88.4 mph.
Chris comes at hitters from a low three-quarters arm angle.
"I know there are things I’m really going to have to improve on, and obviously pitching to lefties is going to be one big thing going forward," he said as the 2014 season ended.
Bassitt’s two-seam fastball has been effective against righthanded hitters, and he’s been working on cutting the ball in on lefthanders.
“He has a live arm,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You look at him, just size wise and how it comes out of his hand, he’s an intriguing pitcher just because of the way he throws. And he’s shown the ability to fight through tough situations, which is what you want to see.”
Bassitt pitched out of the bullpen early in his career and, prior to the 2015 season, many believed he would eventually return to relieving. But he’s made the most of his opportunity to start and has many of the traits necessary to profile as a big league starter.
- 2016 Improvements: Bassitt has traded in his high-effort delivery for a simplified version borrowed from Sonny Gray. "It's a complete change from last year," Bassitt said.
The process began in 2015, when pitching coach Curt Young was working to resolve his occasional habit of tipping pitches. It was during this process they stumbled upon a few delivery patterns that mimicked those employed by Gray. "And we just ran with it," said Bassitt.
"We were seeing some things we wanted to clean up," Young said. "It really has to do with simplifying his delivery and making him comfortable with where his hands are starting from the windup. I'm seeing a more compact delivery from him, where it's been consistent in his side work, and that's really what we're looking for, for him to repeat it and be consistent with his delivery. His arm is going to work the same way every time, which helps him get into the strike zone."
Eliminating as many moving parts from Bassitt's complex delivery meant rotating his body to the right at the starting point, "where it almost appears he's in the stretch when he's in the windup," Young said. "That's how simple he's trying to keep it." From there, Chris takes a small step with his left foot to jumpstart his leg kick, helping him form a more compact delivery.
"He's starting from a strong position," Gray said. "The big thing for him is his lower half is in the same position every pitch. He has a smaller step back now, and he also has his back foot the way he wants it while he's delivering the pitch. He seems to like it."
"I'm so much more under control," Bassitt said. "Usually I'm stepping sideways, then I'm trying to step back, now everything is just directionally toward home plate. It just feels so much better. There's not so much rocking back and forth like before."
Such movements often cost Bassitt his command.
"With his ability and the confidence he gained last year, we expect him to be in the rotation, and we expect him to have a good year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He has a high ceiling. He's got great movement, he throws hard, he came a long way with his breaking stuff last year, and I know his confidence came with it. He's the type of guy you can just see he's more confident out there."
This partly stems from Bassitt's newfound appreciation for the starting pitcher's routine. In the past, he often spoke of his preference for relieving.
"I kinda changed my mind," said Bassitt, laughing. "Last year, after bouncing back and forth, I'd be really happy to start all year. For now, I'm 100 percent on board with starting. I've embraced the routine and learned to love it."
In 2015, several of Bassitt's pitches—notably his cutter and changeup—were slow to develop. This go-around, they're already ahead of schedule, he said, because of his delivery tweaks. He also feels stronger, after an offseason of conditioning with Gray in Nashville, Tenn., at Gray's alma mater, Vanderbilt University.
Bassitt and his girlfriend came to love the city during his stints with the Nashville Sounds, so it didn't take much convincing for them to stay when Gray told him, "Just come work out with me every day."
"We had fun," Gray said. "As pitchers, whether it's a grip or it's something like this with his delivery, if you can help another guy out, that's what's so cool about pitching. We're all constantly trying to get better, and the best way to get better sometimes is by watching other guys." (Jane Lee - MLB.com. - March 3, 2016)
Sept 28, 2020: Chris Bassitt pitched lights-out baseball when his team needed it the most, and his dominant Septembers resulted in being named the American League Pitcher of the Month for September.
Bassitt was the hottest pitcher in baseball down the stretch, leading the Majors with a 0.34 ERA in September -- Gerrit Cole was next-closest at an even 1.00 -- as the A's ran away with the American League West title and clinched the No. 2 seed in the AL playoff bracket.
The 31-year-old righty went 3-0 and didn't allow more than one run in any of his four starts, which included three scoreless efforts. Bassitt's September lowered his ERA to 2.29 for the season.
This is the first pitcher of the Month Award for Bassitt. He went 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA in the short 2020 season.
As of the start of the 2021 season, Bassitt had a career record of 19-21 with a 3.59 ERA, having allowed 41 home runs and 368 hits in 398 innings.
- 2021 Improvements: Bassitt’s new slider
New A’s reliever Sergio Romo recently saw a frustrated Bassitt in the back fields and headed over to his new teammate to help out. Bassitt has only recently been incorporating a slider into his mix — he threw it just 2.5% of pitches in 2020 after not throwing it at all previously in his career — and couldn’t quite find a good grip.
Top Articles READ MORE Apple security exec asks court to toss briberycharge in Santa Clara County concealed‑gun probe SKIP AD Romo’s been in the league for 13 years. He knows a thing or two about being a teammate — so he offered Bassitt his slider grip, the one of a variation he’s established his career on.
“I said, ‘Dang this is pretty funky but I like it.’ And it’s blossomed from there,” Bassitt said after Wednesday’s game.
As Bassitt tries to perfect the pitch, he’s sought council from Jake Diekman, another slider savant in-house. Diekman improved his slider tremendously in 2020 by adopting a new grip that generated far more strikes than he’d gotten in seasons past. This offseason Diekman is working to improve his slider tilt, so that he can find a consistent delivery without concerning himself too much with spin rate. Bassitt has asked Diekman all about this.
“You name it and I’ve talked to him about it,” Bassitt said. “It’s still a work in progress, but things pop in my head and I’ll text him throughout the day, but yeah. If you can bring it up, I can guarantee I’ve asked him about it.”
Bassitt in 2020 threw the slider 25 times, according to Statcast. But Bassitt hopes that incorporating the pitch more readily into his repertoire will prevent him from falling behind in the count. He had a career year in 2020, posting a 2.29 ERA in 11 starts as he climbed out of swingman purgatory into the ace spot.
“It’s a new look,” Bassitt said. “You always have to be one step ahead of batters in the league, and this is my one step ahead of people. If I put another pitch in hitters’ head, it’s going to be a great thing for me. It’s a pitch that’s definitely going to help me this year.” (Shayna Rubin - March 10, 2021)
May 11, 2021: It was going to be difficult for Chris Bassitt to top his career year last season that garnered him some American League Cy Young Award votes. But so far in 2021, he’s looking even more dominant than ever before.
“I thought it was some of his best stuff of the year,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He seems to be getting better as the season goes along. I know he feels better. He feels like he knows where his pitches are going a little bit more, and it’s certainly shown here recently.” It's understandable why Bassitt might have been feeling a bit anxious in that opening frame. Though the 32-year-old righty had seven years of big league experience and 86 games pitched under his belt as he entered the night, it was his first career start against the Red Sox. That means it was also his first time pitching at Fenway Park, the legendary stadium that he dreamed of pitching in while growing up in Toledo, Ohio.“You talk about ballparks and environments that you’ve always wanted to pitch in. Growing up, I always wanted to pitch here,” Bassitt said. “Every game with David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, that’s what I grew up watching -- those Yankee-Boston games. My nerves were way more than normal in the first inning.”
Bassitt has never been quite as overpowering as he’s looked early on this season. Not only did he turn in his sixth consecutive start of two runs allowed, the outing also marked his fifth straight game in which he’s recorded at least seven strikeouts. Of his 10 against Boston, nine were of the swinging variety.
A revamped slider has been a major factor in Bassitt’s ability to generate more strikeouts -- his 53 on the season are now fourth-most in the American League. The pitch is an amalgamation he developed this spring with the help of fellow teammates Sergio Romo and Jake Diekman. Romo helped with the arm slot, which has more of a drop-down delivery at a lower angle. Diekman provided tips on how to better grip the pitch.
Entering Tuesday, Bassitt’s slider ranked as one of the most dominant pitches in baseball. According to Statcast, his 66.7 percent whiff (swing and miss) rate on the slider was tied for the highest of any single pitch among all Major League pitchers. Against Boston, Bassitt threw the slider seven times and induced three swings and two whiffs with it. (M Gallegos - MLB.com - May 12, 2021)
April-July 26, 2014: Bassitt was on the D.L. most of the season with a broken hand. Chris describes it as "non-baseball related."
August 20-Sept. 24, 2015: Chris was sidelined with shoulder soreness and went on the DL.
April 30, 2016: Bassitt remains on the DL and is a candidate for Tommy John surgery after learning he has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
Bassitt, who underwent an MRI after being placed on the disabled list with a sprained elbow, will seek a second opinion before determining his next course of action.
The 27-year-old is scheduled to see Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati, the same surgeon who recently performed A's lefty Felix Doubront's Tommy John operation.
May 6-Oct 7, 2016: Bassitt had successful Tommy John surgery. He is expected to return to Oakland to begin his rehab, embarking on a recovery period that typically spans 12-18 months for first-time Tommy John patients.
April 1-July 25, 2017: Bassitt was still recovering from the Tommy John surgery and began the season on the DL, transferring to the 60-day DL on April 23.
- March 27-April 17, 2019: Chris was on the IL with right lower leg contusion.