Chris Bassitt
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Mets add another arm in the rotation.

The New York Mets’ first move post-lock out saw the team acquire 2021 All-Star starting pitcher Chris Bassitt from the Oakland A’s.

The return are two players in the Mets’ system: prospect J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller. Bassitt is in the last year of his contract and is going to count $8.8 million against the Mets’ payroll; he will be an unrestricted free agent at year’s end.

What are the Mets getting?

Bassitt is 33-years right-handed pitcher who has pitched to excellent numbers since the 2018 season. Since 2018, he owns a 29-14 record and a 3.23 ERA. Overall, over his seven year career he has only pitched to an ERA over 3.56 once, and that came in 2017-18 when he only made five starts.

As for his lifetime splits, they are a tad reversed. Left-handed hitters have hit .218 against him while right-handed hitters .252.

As for his pitch repertoire, last year he threw six different pitches at least seven percent of the time. His sinker was thrown last year 35.7% of the time and sits around 93 MPH. The same as his four-seam fastball that he threw 19.2% of the time.

The remaining pitches he relied on last season were a cutter (18.3%), changeup (10.2%), slider (10.1%), and curveball (6.5%). He loves to throw the kitchen sink at hitters and blend a wide variety of pitches. That is what made him so successful.

The best season of the Ohio-born Bassitt’s career was last year. He owned a FIP of 3.34 and xBA of .227 while making 27 starts. He struck out 159 over 157.1 inning pitched and only walked 39. An important aspect to note, Bassitt went six or more innings in 18 of his 24 starts before his injury.

He ate a lot of quality innings for Oakland last season. Bassitt did all this despite a scary incident where he was struck in the face by a line drive in August of 2021.

So, what kind of pitcher is Bassitt? He relies on terrific placement and break on his pitches. Per MLB Quality of Pitch, since 2019 he been in the top 13% of the league in location and top 30% of the league in break. This has resulted in him being able to generate softer contact and less traffic on the bases.

Last season, per Baseball Savant, he ranked in the league’s 76th percentile in Avg. Exit Velocity, 76th percentile in xwOBA, and 76th percentile in xERA. This all culminated in him putting together an all-star caliber year.

Bassett also set a career-high in strikeout rate (25%) and walk rate (6.1%). These numbers were good for the league’s 60th and 81st percentiles, respectively. Any time you have a pitcher in your rotation that is inducing soft contact, striking hitters out, and avoiding walks, it is a strong recipe for success.

Last season was most likely Bassett’s ceiling, and there is nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, he is a pitcher that is going to rely on excellent command to generate outs. He also has the capabilities to strike hitters out and does a great job at keeping the ball in the park. Expect him to own an ERA somewhere in the mid-3.00s and be a very solid innings-eating number three pitcher for the Mets. A very solid addition to a Mets’ rotation that certainly needed another piece.

The Return

As mentioned above, the two players going back to Oakland is former second-round selection J.T. Ginn and 27-year old Adam Oller.

Ginn is regarded as a top-10 prospect in the top-heavy Mets’ system, as high as seventh by some. He had a splendid season last year at the Class A level. He threw 92 innings between St. Lucie and Brooklyn where he had a total ERA of 3.03. The 22-year old should break into the MLB within the next couple seasons and projects out to be a bottom of the rotation starter.

Adam Oller was named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year last season. He is already 27-years old and pitched at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season. In total, he started 23 games and struck out 138 across 120 innings. He is an intriguing piece for Oakland moving forward.

Overall, it appears neither were likely to make an impact with the Mets this season. Ginn seems like a decently promising prospect but given the Mets’ two impending first-round selections in the draft, should not be a huge loss. Oller was a former Rule 5 Draft (minor league phase) selection who was developed by the Mets organization into a piece to acquire a number three starter. Each should get nice opportunities with the Athletics in the near future.

What’s Next?

After this acquisition, the Mets’ current rotation is as follows:

  1. Jacob deGrom, RHP
  2. Max Scherzer, RHP
  3. Chris Bassitt, RHP
  4. Carlos Carrasco, RHP
  5. Taijuan Walker, RHP

They also have the likes of Tylor Megill, David Peterson, Trevor Williams, and Jordan Yamamoto as depth. In comparison to just a year a go, that is very strong depth. It appears this is the group the Mets will roll into the season with. On paper, an extremely solid rotation.

With the starting pitcher group most likely taken care of, what should be the next move? The bullpen. The Mets are a bullpen arm or two away from having a roster that could not only win the NL East, but compete in the playoffs with the league’s. Nonetheless, a great start in the early days post-lock out for the Mets.