Jesse Chavez Appears to Have Inside Track on Rotation Spot

Updated: March 17, 2017

The Angels entered Spring Training with a multitude of pitchers with a realistic shot at the final two spots of their rotation.

If healthy, you could pencil in Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, and Ricky Nolasco in the first three spots, with Tyler Skaggs, Jesse Chavez, Alex Meyer, Bud Norris, Yusmeiro Petit, Nate Smith, and Manny Banuelos a few of the names in contention for those final two spots. While the Angels had plenty of players with a shot at the rotation, it was generally assumed that those spots were Skaggs’ and offseason addition Chavez’s to lose.

Skaggs was scratched from his second start after failing a strength test following his first start, and although he bounced back to eventually put together a solid second start and seems to have plenty of time to round into form to secure a spot in the rotation, we can’t assume anything at this point.

The odds are, though, that Skaggs will be the fourth starter in the rotation to start the season, barring any further injury, leaving just one spot open. That spot may not actually be as open anymore, though, as Chavez has put together a solid enough Spring not to lose the spot outright, and no other pitcher has impressed enough to challenge him.

Chavez pitched four relatively clean innings today in a minor league game, and at this point appears to just be getting work in to gear up for a season in the rotation.

The spot was Chavez’s to begin with, and he would have had to have a terrible Spring paired with someone like Meyer or Smith truly impressing to nudge him out of that spot, and that just hasn’t happened. Chavez has been consistent all Spring Training, just as he has most of his career, and at this point it would take an herculean effort from those players still remaining on the major league roster to usurp Chavez’s spot.

Alex Meyer is still too inconsistent, Norris appears headed for a bullpen spot (where he can truly be an underrated asset,) Petit is better suited for the bullpen as well, and Banuelos has struggled all spring.

Chavez clearly has the inside track on that fifth and final spot, and that’s a good thing for the Halos. Chavez could end up being one of the best fifth starters in baseball; although he hasn’t thrown a ton of innings in his career, he has stayed healthy and has been reliable throughout his career.

Chavez is consistent,if unspectacular, but you can’t really ask for much more from your fifth starter, and Chavez has the ability to pitch like a number three or four pitcher. The Angels need consistency and reliability more than anything out of their rotation, and Chavez offers that in spades. He may not be an all-star, but Chavez is exactly what the Halos need in this rotation.

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