Blue Jays 2016 Top Prospect: #15 Lupe Chavez

Jays From the Couch starts its Toronto Blue Jays Top 15 Prospects with right-hander, Lupe Chavez, a pitcher from Mexico who could be 4-5 years away.

 

We’re kicking off our inaugural Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects List here at Jays From the Couch. There are many different lists out there, to be sure. Ours will likely have similarities and differences from them. As we count down to Number 1 on our list, we’ll provide you with a profile of the players who make up the bright future of the Blue Jays. We’ve already started with our Honorable Mentions List.

Part 1: Honorable Mentions: Angel Perdomo & Hansel Rodriguez
Part 2: Honorable Mentions: Andy Burns & Chad Girodo
Part 3: Honorable Mentions: Lane Thomas & Joshua Almonte
Part 4: Honorable Mentions: Shane Dawson & Ryan Borucki

Stay tuned to Jays From the Couch as we bring you a prospect profile a day as we move closer to our Blue Jays Top Prospect. We begin our top 15 looking at a young pitcher with great command.

Guadalupe Chavez
DOB December 3rd, 1997
Bats: R Throws: R

The Toronto Blue Jays signed the 6’2″ 150lb native of Mexico as a 16-yr-old international free-agent in 2014. A former outfielder, Lupe was considered one of the best pitchers in the Mexican League in 2013. He was said to have excellent mound presence and feel for the strike zone.

Chavez’ best pitch is his change, which is a plus offering, followed by a low-to-mid 90’s fastball that he controls well for a such a young pitcher. He also throws a work in progress curve. John Manuel, from Baseball America, has Chavez in the Blue Jays Top 30 in the BA Prospect Handbook and had this to say about the young man when comparing him to Hansel Rodriguez:

Chavez is more of a pitcher than a thrower, more polished than lightning stuff. (Full article).

Lupe didn’t disappoint in his first professional season, starting the year with the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. In 10 DSL starts he finished tied for the team lead in wins with 4 and tied for second with 45 strike outs in 42.1IP. During his time in the Dominican Summer League, Lupe showed excellent command with 9.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9, while posting a 1.276 WHIP. Despite a high .342 BABIP, he was able to generate a 4-1 record, 2.98 ERA and a very good 2.76 FIP.

On August 4th, Guadalupe Chavez made his way to the GCL, getting his first taste of baseball State side. He struggled in his first GCL start, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in 3IP, but struck out 4 and didn’t walk a batter. Lupe would pitch 16 more innings in the Gulf Coast, allowing 2 runs, walking 5 and striking out 10 batters.

Chavez didn’t start the year the way he wanted, allowing 9 earned runs (14 runs) on 20 hits in 14.1IP. He went 4-0, 1.61ERA in 5 July starts, and followed with a 3-1 record and 2.37ERA with the DSL Blue Jays in August. A 7-2 record with 2.79ERA in 61.1IP in very good for a first year pitcher.

He gave up more fly balls in the GCL, with 0.56 GO/AO after inducing ground balls at a rate of 1.57 GO/AO in the DSL.

Outlook for 2016

Guadalupe Chavez spent part of his off-season in Florida, after being named to attend Florida State Instructional along with a bunch of other aspiring Blue Jays prospects. It would be very surprising to see Lupe return to the GCL in 2016, with a spot on the Bluefield rotation a more likely destination. Chavez should see his innings around 60 again this season and don’t be surprised to see him remain in Bluefield all season. It’s still early to label Lupe, but he has a projectable frame and shows an excellent feel for his pitches at such a young age; therefore, he is good bet to stick as a middle of the rotation starter.

ETA: 2019

*Featured Image Credit: Bart Hanlon UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.