Four reasons why the Frisbee-tossing Chaz Roe is your new favorite pitcher
4 reasons why Chaz Roe is your new favorite pitcher
Chaz Roe is your new favorite pitcher and you don't even know it.
You may not think that he's your favorite pitcher. After all, how many of your favorite pitchers are 28-year-olds with only 51 1/3 career innings and are middle relief options? How many of your favorite pitchers have spent time with more Major League teams (eight) than the number of acceptable people in your wedding party (four).
Well, let me tell you why:
- His name is Chaz. It's not a nickname, it's his born and given name. Chaz -- not like the guy from Airheads whose name was actually Chester. Despite the untold thousands of people who have played the game of baseball, Roe is the only Chaz to reach the big leagues. Though that may not be for long. The Yankees have a 22-year-old starter in Class-A Advanced named Chaz Hebert. Which is also an amazing name.
- His hair. In a throwback to the early '90s baseball cards that litter my apartment, Roe's long, messy hair sprouting out from under the ballcap is not a style you see very often.
I may be suffering from male pattern baldness, doomed to never have a full head of hair like the Orioles reliever, but at least I can live on vicariously through him.
- He's an Indy League success story. Though selected by the Rockies with the 32nd overall pick in the 2005 draft, things at first didn't really work out for Roe. After reaching Triple-A with the Rockies, where he posted a 5.98 ERA in the (to be fair) hitter-friendly Colorado Springs, he was then shipped to Seattle where he posted a 6.59 ERA and 0-7 record for Tacoma. Even if wins don't really mean anything anymore, having a zero followed by a seven is certainly not the kind of statistic that's going to get you called up.
Following shoulder surgery and a drug-related suspension, Roe landed in Laredo, home of the Lemurs, in the independent American Association. Though clearly not the goal Roe had for his career going into it, you can't argue that he may have been with the most wonderfully logo'd team of his career.
If they're this cute eating a ball of rice, just imagine how adorable they are on the field:
Roe was fantastic there, pitching to a 1.47 ERA in 55 innings. It was enough to capture the attention of the Diamondbacks. After 22 big league innings with the D-backs in 2013, Roe then spent time in the Rangers, Marlins, Yankees (two Major League innings) and Pirates systems before finally ending up in Baltimore. At the age of 28, and with a 2.67 ERA, he looks to have finally carved his niche in the Majors.
And how has he done it?
- His slider. That's the reason you clicked on this article. Admit it, you want to see this pitch. A big sweeping hook, that moves more like a frisbee or Hot Wheels car on a track, Roe has set a career high with 8.24 inches of horizontal movement on the pitch this season. And according to Statcast™, he has the ninth-highest average spin rate on the ball, picking up 2,548 RPM.
But those are words. And words don't move the soul like images. Thomas Kinkade knows that -- why else do you think he paints such boring houses? Because art brings them to life.
Like this UFO of a slider to strikeout Adeiny Hechavarria in his first game with the Orioles.
Or when he gave his slider an ultra dense center of gravity, making Kevin Kiermaier swing like he was an action figure without enough points of articulation:
He pulled the same trick on Brett Gardner, throwing a pitch that has no right belonging in this realm of physics.
And that's his secret. Just like his slider unexpectedly darts out of view of the batter, his slider has also darted straight into your heart. And that, my friends, is why Roe is your new favorite reliever. Long live that slider.