The Fascinating Story of Chris Resop

Chris Resop knew that last night was going to be his last in Triple-A. Signed to a minor league contract by the Braves this spring, his agent included an unusual out clause in the deal; if he is not in the major leagues by June 15th, he is free to contact other major league clubs and ask for a job. If any of them are willing to put him on the major league roster, the Braves surrender his rights. If multiple teams are willing to roster him, then the Braves will select where he goes. In some ways, it’s like Resop has to be put through waivers on Tuesday.

Given how well he’s pitched for Gwinnett and the velocity on his fastball, it was a near certainty that he would find a team that would be more than happy to give him a shot next week. However, he erased any doubts last night, and may have created enough demand to allow the Braves to trade him for something of value before next week rolls around.
His performance last night – 9 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts. The one blemish on his otherwise perfect evening was promptly doubled off on the next play, allowing Resop to face the minimum in his complete game shutout. He faced 27 hitters and recorded 27 outs. Hard to do much better than that.

So now, an interesting question arises – what’s the market value for a 27-year-old with a good arm who is pitching well in Triple-A but has little history of success, and is in his first year as a starting pitcher? Originally drafted as an outfielder by the Marlins in 2001, he was converted to the bullpen in 2003, and made his way to the majors as a power reliever. The last few years have brought elbow surgery and some not-overly-impressive time with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. There were few things less expected than Resop dominating as a starting pitcher, but dominate he has.

Posting 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings while simultaneously running a GB% of nearly 50 percent – those are the kinds of numbers that open eyes. The walks are a little high at 3.3 BB/9, and the big platoon splits should give us pause before we project him for stardom, but Resop has shown enough to be worth a flyer for a team that can afford to gamble on the 5th starter job.

In all likelihood, more than one team will “claim” Resop next Tuesday, so the Braves will have some bargaining power to trade him before then. They could theoretically use him in relief, displacing Jesse Chavez, but the rest of their bullpen has been so good that he wouldn’t log many important innings and would generally not have much of an impact. But regardless of what Atlanta decides to do, Resop will certainly be in the majors next Tuesday. He’s earned his shot.




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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


17 Responses to “The Fascinating Story of Chris Resop”

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  1. ClosetM'sFan says:

    Hey Dave,

    Do you have any indication the Mariners may make a play on Resop?

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  2. There’s been some talk that the Tigers may be the leading candidate.

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  3. pacgnosis says:

    I learned to hate Resop from his earlier stint with the Braves. His fastball always had velocity, but it was completely straight, and he had neither the control nor the secondary pitches to fool major-league hitters.

    His resurgence as a starter is completely baffling, but at this point, he’s proven himself to be worthy of another shot in the big leagues. Weirdly, I actually want it to come with the Braves. If he truly has turned a corner, I’m sure Bobby Cox can find a spot for him, either in the bullpen (replacing Christhian Martinez or Chavez), or in the rotation (moving Kris Medlen or, dare I suggest, Derek Lowe, to a set-up role). It’s a gamble, sure, but if he succeeds in MLB, his trade value will skyrocket.

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    • That was one thing that struck me about the article, that there was not much about the Braves keeping him. Resop is older than what you want in a prospect, but at 27, not by that much, so his performance would suggest that he can do well in the majors now.

      Is Moylan so good to keep Resop out? Moylan has been very wild the past two seasons and his strikeout rate is not that great, nor his K/BB. The only great thing, really, is his ERA. He must be really good at getting popups or groundballs.

      Not that I’m saying Moylan should go to make space for Resop, but I think there is enough question marks to at least consider it.

      Also, Lowe has been so bad that I would think that he would also have to be in the conversation for swapping out. Does he have another year on his contract? If not, he is DFA-able with his high ERA and horrible looking peripherals. If the Braves have another year, though, $20M would be a tough pill to swallow.

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      • Temo says:

        Since when does a 4.25 FIP/xFIP warrant a DFA?

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      • thebandogora says:

        He actually has TWO years on his contract for 15 million per after this year.. So the Braves aren’t dumping Lowe anytime soon. But like the other guy said, his 4.25 FIP could be a lot worse. He’s decent, just not worth 15 million.

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      • Temo says:

        Yea, Kawakami or Medlen are most likely to be sent to the bullpen.

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      • Temo says:

        Actually, I just looked it up: Lowe is currently 2nd in FIP to Tommy Hanson among starters.

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    • Temo says:

      Apparantly, Resop now throws a 2-seamer that he didn’t have before his Japan trip. So his fastball is no longer straight.

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  4. ClosetM'sFan says:

    pacgnosis…you just described the Brandon Morrow era with the Mariners to a T. Was NOT sorry to see him go…

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  5. Dr.Rockso says:

    I’ve heard a lot of talk that #6org is on to him. Mostly from the fans. Don’t know what #6org would be willing to give up to get him… And I agree that the Braves just might end up keeping him.

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  6. Temo says:

    The Brave’s bullpen is generally ok, but with Medlen in the rotation and Saito on the DL and Moylan struggling, they’re not best-in-the-league good anymore. He could certainly come up and take either Martinez’s spot or Chavez’s.

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  7. Bronnt says:

    It’s amazing to see a player’s component statistics drastically change, especially when you’re making the transition from relief pitcher to starting pitcher. I’ve found it fascinating all season long to see his K-rate jump 7.7 in his previous minor league stints up to 10, while increasing his groundball rate, reducing his fly ball rate, and all while transitioning into a starting pitcher.

    Assuming Resop is a legitimate starting pitcher, this is a serious windfall for the Braves. His trade value has to incorporate the fact that he can’t become a free agent until 2013, so he’s very nearly a fresh prospect and completely expendable because of all the starting pitching depth they have in Atlanta and in the farm system.

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  8. gnomez says:

    Resop>Suppan

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  9. Andrew says:

    Do the Braves relinquish Resop’s rights if they ever want to send him to the minors or are they required to DFA him?

    Since Chavez and Martinez still have options left (and Kimbrel, Venters, Medlen, Hanson but they’re not going anywher), I think it makes sense for the Braves to call up Resop and at least give him a shot.

    Just look at all of the low leverage innings that Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito have been pitching. Bobby Cox’s use of the bullpen is worth its own post, but Resop can easily steal those innings or the 0.30 leveraged innings that Chavez is pitching.

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  10. CircleChange11 says:

    Wasn’t Ryan Ludwick 27 when he started his MiLBer to MLB All-Star transformation?

    He’s certainly cooled off from that point, but still a good ML OF.

    Age, sometimes, isn’t the deciding factor. Sometimes guys mature at different rates and figure things out. I also think the older one gets, the more serious one takes the game.

    But Resop’s development as a pitcher hasn’t taken the normal course either.

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  11. jackson says:

    Jesus Dave, you’re a married man….

    Flee fornication.

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