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September call-ups report card: pitchers

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Bassitt and Snodgress

Jonathan Daniel

Once again, I'll be using an expanded definition of a "September" call-up. Which means there is all of two of them to discuss. By the end of the season, the White Sox had called up at one point or another almost every pitcher in the organization who was even remotely major league ready. And here's the final additions to that list.

Chris Bassitt got his call-up for the night cap of the doubleheader on August 30, in which he made his first start. He made five more appearances, four of which were starts. Final line; 29.2 IP, 34 H, 12 BB, 1 IBB, 21 K, 15.3% strikeout rate, 8.6 unintentional % walk rate. Evaluating the 25-year-old was tricky for me. He's not going to be a starter in the majors. He was in survival mode pretty frequently. Given those, his pitch selection was necessarily different.

On the intangibles side, the righty lived up to his reputation as a competitor/battler/bulldogger/whatever. While I'm sure his heart rate was sky high, his mound presence was excellent and he didn't give off the air of a guy who was barely keeping his head above water.

His stuff largely didn't impress me, however, though I'm not sure I'd call that a surprise. His fastballs were as I expected: good. Bassitt gets a lot of sink on them and they're legit major league pitches. I didn't see anything else, though, that complemented them. There were flashes, perhaps most impressively from his curve, but nothing with consistency. Since I consider him a reliever long-term, I would've liked to have seen more from his curve or his slider but pitching as a starter necessitates a varied pitch selection and he was using at least five pitches with regularity. A lot of guys reached base on him and he got away with it because he didn't give up any home runs (unsustainable) and had an infield fly percentage of 18.8% (also unsustainable). He earned a C+ grade because he performed at expectations and showed major league ability. He'll pitch as a reliever in the Arizona Fall League.

Scott Snodgress was the only new pitcher added in September. And he existed solely because of his lefthandedness. Appropriately, he was used sparingly and presumably got a lot of instruction time as he kept himself in game shape for the AFL. The final line was not pretty: 4 G, 2.1 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 1 IBB, 1 K, 5.3% strikeout rate, 10.5% unintentional walk rate. The 25-year-old had only just started his transition to the bullpen at the very end of July upon his promotion to AAA. While he had extensive relief experience in college, the lefty's pro experience was almost entirely as a starter, and making the shift to the bullpen during the season and at higher levels has a degree of difficultly associated with it.

While we'd been conditioned to have extremely low expectations for reliever call-ups, Snodgress managed to wiggle his way under even that. As one would expect from a reliever, he relied almost exclusively on two pitches, his fastball and slider, neither of which really impressed. Robin Ventura brought him into his first two games with the intention of him completing a full inning. He got lit up pretty good in both of those. In his final two games, Ventura brought him in during an inning to face lefties. The first time it went well, with Sndogress retiring both lefties he faced (with an intentional walk in between), though the second time he failed to retire the only lefty he faced. It's hard to justify anything other than a F grade. While I'm a fan of his long-term, he needs to figure out a plan to get lefties out if he wants to have a major league future.