In an ideal world. Chris Bassitt enjoys a journeyman career. Bouncing around to various organizations, filling in for relief and providing spot starts as needed, performing admirably in spite of clear limitations, and never strikes out anyone besides Alex Avila.
Bassitt glided through 7.2 innings of shutout ball against a Tigers team furiously clinging to the AL Central lead, but filled his highlight reel only with embarrassing clips of the bruised Detroit backstop. He froze Avila with a curveball in the second, with a slider in the fourth, before switching it up and blowing Avila away in the sixth with a high fastball that Pitch FX vehemently claims was thrown 95 mph.
The big performance and first career win for the Michigan native was a lovely late-September story and an impressive comeback after threatening to unravel in Kansas City, who has done little definitive except successfully hang on.
He sits more low-90's than anything else--perhaps explaining why Avila was so mystified by the sudden rush of heat. His mixes heavy use of his slider with a disorientating over the top curveball, with just a hint of a changeup. Nothing is especially hard-breaking nor swing-and-miss, which gives the impression that he'll need to stake his existence on being a strike-thrower.
Until Monday, Bassitt hadn't really done that effectively, and his minors record doesn't suggest it for his his immediate future. Even Monday, he had a moment where he completely lost his release point and missed with four-straight fastballs to Victor Martinez before regaining his footing on a night where he flashed excellent, damage-controlling command of the bottom half of the strike zone. It'd be nice if he has that three out of every four times out, but that's the sort of thing he has to prove through repetition.
With Hector Noesi and John Danks, the White Sox have their fare share of starters whose stuff and peripherals don't hint at great success, but stick around through the bumps and bruises. They are in no position to turn their noses up at Bassitt, who if nothing else provides a familiar face to 2015's crop of spare starters, which will be better than getting introduced to Scott Carroll on the fly and--however you feel about Noesi's performance--scavenging the waiver wire for guys you just hammered in garbage time.
If nothing else, this is a rapid turn of fate for Bassitt, who missed most of his season in Double-A Birmingham with injury, only to waltz his way into 2015 MLB plans with a couple of hot months, punctuated by shutting down his hometown team in front of friends and family.
The White Sox have been hard up for cool pitching moments not penned by Chris Sale or Jose Quintana, but with Carroll and Bassitt, have been surprisingly rich with experiences of hard-working minor leaguers who have had to disabuse themselves of the notion of a clear, easy path to the majors, making good in front of the people who played the biggest role in pushing them on. For some--surely not most of us--but for some, the 2014 White Sox season is the most important season of their lives, and it's cool to just drift along for the ride for a night.
Follow The Catbird Seat on Twitter @TheCatbird_Seat