- By David Wellham The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A native of Ranburne, Ala., who played collegiately at Troy, Chase Whitley will compete for a spot in the Braves’ bullpen this spring.
Here are five things to know about Whitley:
When acquired: The Braves claimed Whitley, 28, off waivers from the Rays on Nov. 20.
What to expect: Whitley, a right-hander, joins a large group of candidates with their sights set on winning a spot in the bullpen. One key for Whitley may be regaining velocity on his fastball. In four seasons in the big leagues, Whitley has averaged 93.2 mph on his fastball, and that includes last season’s dip in speed, when his fastball averaged only 90.16.
Summary of career: Whitley made 41 appearances last season, all out of the bullpen, and batters hit .222 against him in 57 1/3 innings. However, Whitley began his major league career as a starter. His first 10 appearances, and 12 of his first 13, were starts. Since then, he’s come out of the bullpen for 56 of his 61 appearances. His last starting opportunity came with Tampa Bay in the final game of the final day of the 2016 season. His previous start before that came with the Yankees on May 14, 2015, when he left in the second inning with an elbow injury. After that came Tommy John surgery and the ensuing rehab.
Career highlight: Whitley made his major league debut May 15, 2014 for the Yankees against the Mets at Citi Field. He started and pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing no runs, two hits and two walks while striking out four. After that decent start, things went downhill for him as a starter. Over his next nine starts, he allowed 61 hits in 44 1/3 innings.
Something you didn’t know about him: The opposing pitcher the night Whitley made his majors debut also made his major league debut that night. The guy’s name: Jacob deGrom, who lasted seven innings and allowed four hits, one run and two walks, while striking out six.