Oakland Athletics’ Jesse Chavez Making His Case For Spot In 2016 Starting Rotation

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The Oakland Athletics starting rotation has been through some changes this season. One of those alterations would be the addition of Jesse Chavez in late April. Chavez did not initially make the A’s rotation this season, much to his dismay. He had earned a spot in 2014, but there were too many newcomers with hot arms, so Chavez was ultimately bumped from the rotation this year.

In 2014, Chavez was a strong starter for the Oakland Athletics in the beginning. He would last pretty late into each game and allowed minimal hits. However, as the season continued, Chavez began to dwindle. This could be due to the fact that he had never been a full time starter in a rotation for an entire MLB season, so he ultimately became fatigued. Chavez ended up back in the bullpen and finished out the last two months of the year as a long reliever.

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In 2015, history seemed to repeat itself. Once Chavez joined the starting rotation, he was very dominate. However, as the season progressed, exhaustion began to set in and Chavez started to weaken. From the end of June until early August, Chavez was leaving pitches over the plate and could barely make it through to the sixth inning – twice he did not even make out of the fourth. Everyone was wondering when manager Bob Melvin was going to pull him from the rotation.

But, Melvin believed that Chavez could turn his luck around. Thankfully, Melvin was right. In his most recent outing on Wednesday, Chavez went eight innings and threw a career-high of 116 pitches while only allowing two hits. It was extremely impressive to see him pitch strongly so late in the season. If he is able to finish out this year as a starting pitcher and continue to be commanding while on the bump, the possibility of Chavez making the starting rotation in 2016 will grow.

The only given regarding the starting rotation in 2016 is that Sonny Gray will probably be the No. 1 starter. Other than Gray, the rest of the spots are up for grabs. Chavez is going to have to work extra hard if he wants a position in next year’s rotation. There will be many young guns coming out to compete for one of the four remaining spots including Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Sean Nolin and Aaron Brooks. It is likely that Drew Pomeranz, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin will also be in the mix.

Even though the Oakland Athletics are not vying for a World Series win this year, Chavez still needs to finish out 2015 strong to show that he can last as a starter for an entire season. He could very easily lose his rotation spot in 2016 if he cannot prove that he has the ability to be a full time starting pitcher. Keep an eye Chavez during his next start. It will be very telling as to how well Chavez can bounce back after throwing over 100 pitches in his previous outing.

Next: Oakland Athletics No Longer Need Ike Davis

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