With well over 60 players on the big league side of the Dodgers‘ spring camp, there are bound to be a few stories which surface regarding some of the club’s talent that’s flying completely under the radar.
And as it may sound as if we’re beating a dead horse, the memories of Brandon Morrow resurrecting his entire career last year to be one of the most effective setup men in the National League still stick in our mind. Even beyond that, we’re reminded of guys like Joe Blanton and Louis Coleman, who made one final charge in their careers to log 71 and 57 games respectively during the club’s 2016 run.
Yet, with that many players in attendance at Camelback, there may very well be one or two dark horse players who emerge to be candidates for the team’s Opening Day 25-man roster. And with a bullpen which may need all the help it can get in the early stages of the season, righty reliever J.T. Chargois could conceivably see some big league action sooner than many think.
One Wednesday, one of our daily readers, Jeff D., made a note of Chargois’ injury history and drew parallels to a few of the reclamation projects that the management team has orchestrated over the past few years. The 27-year-old Louisiana native was claimed by the Dodgers from the Twins last Friday, and has certainly sustained his share of injuries.
In 2013, he had Tommy John surgery which sidelined him for almost two entire seasons, and logged just two appearances in 2017 due to problems in his right elbow. However, the Rice University product insists that he’s healthy and is looking forward to a strong 2018 campaign.
“There’s nothing physically wrong with me,” Chargois said in an interview last week. “It was a mechanical glitch and I think that’s fixed now. I don’t really foresee anything else happening.”
Chargois was selected by Minnesota in the second round of the 2012 draft, and pitched 25 games out of the bullpen for the Twins in 2016, recording a 4.70 ERA over 23 innings with 17 strikeouts. His best year in the minors came in 2015 across two levels of the Minnesota farm, when he logged 48 appearances and 15 saves with a 2.63 ERA alongside 53 strikeouts over an even 48 innings of work.
The good thing about his contract status is that he has one option remaining, which fits in well with management’s propensity to continuously carousel the relief corps. And he’s already on the 40-man roster, having assumed the spot vacated by Julio Urias when the lefty was placed on the 60-day DL last week.
There’s no question that Chargois has a fierce arsenal. If he’s able to establish some consistency and stamina early in the season, he could play big in the major league bullpen at some point. MLB Pipeline had this to say about his stuff:
“When healthy, Chargois has a legitimate top-of-the-scale fastball that can touch 100 mph and sits in the upper 90s consistently. He is able to throw it with plenty of sink, both missing bats and generating weak contact on the ground, though he can get a little flat and lose angle when he tries to muscle up too much. His slider can be a plus pitch that he relies on greatly. Chargois even has a changeup that can be above-average at times, though he doesn’t throw it very often.”
Chargois impressed in his first Cactus League appearance of the year last Wednesday against San Diego, retiring the Friars in order, and fanning two batters in the process. Fans who saw him up close were extremely impressed by his velocity and movement on his heater.
Although it’s still early in camp, Chargois looks solid on the bump so far, and many eyes will be on him throughout the spring as he makes a case for himself. With an option at his disposal, he’s likely to begin the year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, but as long as he’s locating his hard stuff, he’ll definitely be on the top tier of the fringe players.
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