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The Debut: Chaz Roe

Don’t worry, the wiffleball slider is there

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets

Heading into the 2005 draft, Chaz Roe was among the top ranked prep arms in the country and this would eventually lead to him be selected 32nd overall by the Colorado Rockies, where he quickly signed to become a professional baseball player.

The 18-year-old Roe was assigned to Rookie-League and proceeded to make his slow climb through the minor leagues. He garnered attention as one of the top prospects in Colorado’s system. Working with a decent fastball and a potentially plus fastball, Roe was projecting to reach the big leagues at some point during the 2009 season.

Unfortunately, that’s when injuries began to rain down on Roe’s career.

He had to undergo knee surgery and then dealt with a bad oblique in 2009, and then as he was overcoming that, he suffered a serious bout of the flu.

All of this delayed the start of Chaz Roe’s Major League career, and at some point it seemed like he would never reach the show.

Roe was dealt to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Jose Lopez in December of 2010, but with the new organization, Roe was again relegated to the minor leagues. After struggling, he was designated for assignment, cleared waivers and remained with Seattle.

He became a free agent for the first time following the season but would be busted for a 50-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines. Looking to redeem himself, Roe went to the Independent Leagues and did well enough to earn a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks towards the latter end of the 2012 season.

Finally, in 2013, Roe would receive his opportunity.

On July 1, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected his contract from Triple-A, and he made his big league debut later that day against the New York Mets.

After the New York Mets were able to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, DBacks manager Kirk Gibson called upon Roe to keep them in check in the bottom of the 10th and keep Arizona’s hopes of winning the game alive.

The first hitter to step in against Roe was the Mets starting shortstop, Omar Quintanilla. Roe’s first pitch was a low 90’s fastball that came across the outside corner for a called strike. Two pitches, Quintanilla ended up on first base after lacing a ball into right field for single.

After nearly decapitating the next hitter, Andrew Brown, Roe fielded a bunted groundball on the right side of the infield. Roe tagged out Brown as Quintanilla advanced into scoring position with one out. A few pitches later and another groundball on the infield would be scooped up, but also allowed Quintanilla to advance and now he was on third base as the potential winning run was 90 feet away from home with two outs.

Daniel Murphy had the opportunity to play hero for the Mets, but he wasjammed and skied a pitch into right field for a routine flyout to end the inning.

Roe’s night and debut were not yet over, however, as he came back on for the bottom of the 11th as well and faced David Wright to start things out; during this at-bat, Roe would heavy display his now-patented slider.

The veteran Wright battled through against Roe and eventually walked after a 7 pitch at-bat. The next hitter, Roe just kept challenging with fastballs and after two foul balls, he blew one by the bat of Marlon Byrd for his first career strikeout.

Roe then enticed a groundout from Josh Satin for the second out of the inning, also allowing David Wright to advance to second. Then, the Diamondbacks would have Chaz Roe intentionally walk John Buck.

Unfortunately for Roe, he would unintentionally walk the next hitter after working to a 3-2 count — just missing the outside corner and loading the bases with two outs.

That’s how his night and Major League debut would finish. The Diamondbacks got out of the inning unscathed, but went on to lose the game after 13 innings.

Roe meanwhile would be up and down from the minor leagues a few times over the next month until seeing a prolonged opportunity in August. This is how Roe’s career went for the next several years, receiving limited big league opportunities, but also displaying plenty of promise with his wiffleball slider.

After stints with the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and the Atlanta Braves, the Tampa Bay Rays were able to pick him up off of the waiver wire in 2017.

Since then, Roe has found his niche, pitching mostly in middle relief for the Rays. The only time he has seen the minor leagues within the Rays system was during a very brief rehab assignment in 2018. While healthy, Roe has been among the more effective pitchers in the Rays bullpen.

Roe has appeared in a total of 141 games in a Rays uniform and has registered a 3.60 ERA / 3.61 FIP over 110 innings pitched. Although he can get erratic at times, when he is able to harness his command, Roe can be incredibly dominant.

You can enjoy Chaz Roe’s full 19 minute debut below