The accomplished right-handed pitcher made a victorious return to Atlanta in 2023, delivering extraordinary performances that went beyond expectations, till an unfortunate comebacker interrupted his season in mid-June. Commemorating his 40th birthday in August, he has generated an excellent 16 seasons in the big leagues, with his newest getaway being one of the very best of his profession. This renowned person requires little introduction.
He’s Jesse Chavez.
For a complete background on Chavez’s career, you can click on this link or click on this link as his background, up until this season, hasn’t altered. But the man who opts for the Atlanta Braves like peanut butter chooses jelly has actually become one of the more renowned bullpen figures in the team’s current history– pitching so well for the Braves that his journeyman status appears like a simple footnote.
In what manner was he obtained?
Atlanta obtained Chavez by offering him a contract for the minor league on November 12, 2022, together with an invite to sign up with Spring Training. He was chosen to be part of the big league team before Opening Day. Chavez devoted the whole of 2021 to the Braves, and experienced a turbulent 2022 where he was traded to the Braves early on, then traded once again and launched, only to re-sign with the Braves throughout the middle of the season. Nevertheless, this time around, there were no remarkable occasions as Chavez stayed with the very same organization throughout the whole year.
What were the expectations?
Chavez went back to Atlanta to provide depth to the group’s bullpen. After pitching well for the group in 2021 and doing so once again in two separate tours of duty in 2022, he wanted to play a valuable function as a versatile arm, capable of working anywhere from a mop-up function to a medium-to-high take advantage of set-up role. Given his age– and the nature of reducers in general– there was danger, however it was low, given that the group wasn’t relying on him to plug up any significant holes in the bullpen chain of command.
Chavez entered the season having assembled 1.7 fWAR as a reliever across the past 2 seasons, though his 2020, as a Ranger, was disastrous. He was anticipated to be someplace in between a good and excellent reducer based upon his recent history, regardless of his age– his modification of speed design from today’s procession of hard-throwing reliever appeared to work quite well, a minimum of when he remained in a Braves uniform (he was substantially worse with every non-Braves team he pitched for given that 2019).
The 2023 season was another accomplishment for Chavez, who excelled while representing Atlanta. Throughout the season, he participated in 36 games, pitching for a total of 34 2⁄3 innings, attaining an exceptional 1.56 PERIOD, 3.55 xERA, 3.05 FIP, and 3.40 xFIP. His age was substantially lower than the league average by 65 percent, while his xFIP was 22 percent listed below the league average. He showed extraordinary ability in avoiding crowning achievement, leading to his low FIP of only two throughout the season. In addition, he limited his hard-hit rate to only a 3rd of the balls in play against him. Overall, he accumulated 0.7 fWAR over the course of the year, matching his overall from 2022 in spite of pitching less than half the variety of innings.
Chavez’s arsenal of 4 pitches – a cutter, sinker, changeup, and curveball – yielded favorable results, with some help from his defense. He relied most greatly on his cutter, however also tossed a sinker and changeup often, and periodically a curveball. The sinker and changeup showed excellent drop, while the cutter’s distinct movement, which didn’t comply with traditional fastball or slider patterns, perplexed batters. Although Chavez didn’t constantly hit his spots, he generally kept the ball far from the center of the strike zone and avoided giving up hits.