This is something that popped up on my twitter feed today and I deemed it interesting enough to devote a small post to. Former Mariners prospect Johermyn Chavez (Possibly the name of my first child), was picked up by the Cubs and after a poor start to the year in the outfield, the Cubs decided to make him into a pitcher.
Chavez was acquired in the Brandon Morrow trade along with Brandon League. He was essentially a worse Carlos Peguero, lots of power, lots of K’s and a small chance of figuring it out and becoming awesome. He reached AA Jackson in the M’s system in 2012 and then posted a triple slash line of .232/ .339/.386 combined with a K% of 21.5 in 75 games with the team. This was not good enough for the team and he was DFA’d so Luis Jimenez could be called up to Seattle. That should really tell you all you need to know about how valuable Chavez was.
But since teams always like toolsy players, the Cubs picked him up in the hope that he could figure it out. He didn’t. In 24 games with their AA level he hit .206 with a K% of 23.6. Instead of cutting him or sending him down, the Cubs had the idea of making him a pitcher. Kudos to them for thinking outside the box and according to reports, Chavez hit 95-96 MPH in his first inning of work in the Arizona league. He also walked a guy and allowed a run. This is not the first time a position player has been converted into a pitcher. Kenley Jansen, Jason Motte and Troy Percival were all converted position players and they all seemed to figure it out at some point.
This also goes to show how relievers aren’t exactly a rare commodity. As I have mentioned before and why I am not worried about the Mariners bullpen, is that a bullpen is the easiest thing to fix on a roster. But to get back to Chavez, its tough to teach 95 MPH and if Jesus Colomecan make an MLB roster, Chavez certainly has a chance. Good luck Johermyn, your name is awesome.