Chris Bassitt rated as 14th best Opening Day starter
By David Hill
It has been a whirlwind year for Chris Bassitt. He had not been assured of a place in the Oakland A’s starting rotation, even when the second spring training had started. When A.J. Puk continued to battle his shoulder woes, Bassitt was slotted into the fifth spot, with the A’s hoping he would at least replicate his solid 2019 campaign.
As it turned out, he did far more than replicate that showing. Bassitt emerged as the A’s most consistent starter, becoming their de facto staff ace. He was rewarded for his efforts by being named the A’s Opening Day starter, an honor that was well deserved.
Chris Bassitt ranked 14th best Opening Day starter
Naturally, having Bassitt as the A’s ace, and Opening Day starter, will lead to comparisons around the game. He was ranked as the 14th best Opening Day starter by MLB.com, a respectable middle of the road spot based on his stature in the game.
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One could argue that he deserved better. Bassitt did produce a stellar 2.29 ERA and a 1.159 WHiP over his 63 innings, striking out 55 batters with 17 walks. He may not be the overpowering type of arm that one imagines as a staff ace, but his ability to generate ground balls and weak contact leads to better results than his stuff would typically indicate.
But those 100 MPH fastballs and ridiculous breaking pitches are what gets attention. That is what gets the gifs on Twitter or the highlight reels on various shows. People are not necessarily looking to see a pitcher get the opposition to pound grounders into the dirt and use their defense to their advantage.
That leads to pitchers such as Bassitt getting lost in the shuffle. They are viewed as solid middle of the rotation options, but nothing more. Even if their production indicates that they can be a staff ace, they are typically pegged as a third or fourth starter. That is not the case with the A’s, although that is also a matter of not having a better option for the Opening Day role.
Chris Bassitt is considered to be the 14th best Opening Day starter. Based on his production last year, he deserved a better ranking.