CHICAGO - Former University of Akron baseball pitcher Chris Bassitt will make his Major League debut on Saturday for the Chicago White Sox, according to a team release.
Bassitt, who pitched for the Zips from 2009-11 and recorded a career ERA of 2.29 in 70.2 innings pitched, will start the second game of a doubleheader for the White Sox, slated to begin at 7:10 p.m.
Said Rick Rembielak, current head coach of Akron baseball, "I'm extremely happy for Chris. He's done very well at each level he's pitched and it's great to see him reach a milestone in his baseball career."
The 6-foot-5 right-hander made 23 appearances in relief for UA in 2009, pitching to a 3.52 ERA in 30.2 innnings while recording 34 strikeouts, a .184 batting average against, and a team-high seven saves.
After taking time off during the 2010 season, in which he only appeared in one game, to focus on academics, Bassitt took off in 2011, becoming the Zips full-time closer and recording another seven saves that year. He pitched to a 1.42 ERA in relief in 28 appearances spanning 38 innings, racking up 48 strikeouts and a 1.03 WHIP on his way to All-MAC Second Team honors.
Bassitt was drafted by the White Sox in the 2011 MLB Amateur Players Draft in the 16th round, and had the chance to pitch in the pros right away, appearing in 23 games across three lower levels of the minor leagues and posting a 1.82 ERA over 34.2 innings pitched.
With a career minor league ERA of 2.97 over 318 innings spanning each level of the White Sox system, Bassitt most recently has been pitching for the Birmingham Barons of the Class-AA Southern League. He took off as a starter in 2013, striking out 101 batters in 13 starts.
Though he was dealing with a broken hand earlier this year and didn't make his season debut until July 12, Bassitt has made six starts this season in Birmingham, compiling a 1.56 ERA and .206 batting average against in 34.2 innings, adding 36 strikeouts. He has made appearances in both the Southern League playoffs and the Arizona Fall League during his professional career as well.
Bassitt will be the third player out of Akron to make it to the Major League level, joining current Kent State Baseball Associate Head Coach Mike Birkbeck (Milwaukee Brewers, 1986-89, and New York Mets, 1992 and '95) and most recently Mark Malaska (Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 2003, and Boston Red Sox, 2004) as the only UA alum to don Major League jerseys.
The plan for Bassitt is to be the 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader and start the nightcap following Chris Sale who will start game one for the White Sox. Bassitt will then have to go back to the minor leagues on Sunday before being able to rejoin the team on Monday when rosters expand in September.
According to scouts, Bassitt features a fastball in the 91-93 mph range, topping out at 95, while also throwing a changeup, curveball, and slider.