2020 Toronto Blue Jays Reflections: Sam Gaviglio

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Sam Gaviglio

We continue to look at the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays by looking at a pitcher whose 2020 was likely the end of the road for him as a Blue Jay: Sam Gaviglio.

Gaviglio, 30, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by the St Louis Cardinals and worked his way up through their system until after the 2014 season when he was traded to the Seattle Mariners. He spent 2015 mostly in Triple-A for the Mariners and split 2016 between Double-A and Triple-A. Gaviglio reached the major leagues in 2017, making 11 starts (and 12 appearances) for the Mariners and posting a 4.62 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 62 1/3 innings before he was claimed on waivers by the Kansas City Royals, making four more appearances before the year was done.

In spring 2018, Gaviglio was picked up by the Blue Jays for a Player to Be Named and he spent the most time of any season previous in his career in the big leagues, logging 123 2/3 innings, mostly as a starter with a 5.31 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, striking out 105 and walking 38. In 2019, Gaviglio returned to the majors, this time exclusively as a reliever and threw 95 2/3 innings in 52 games, posting a 4.61 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, striking out 88 and walking 22.

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Coming into 2020, Gaviglio was in a good position to make a run at a bullpen spot, likely as a low-leverage/long reliever. He had three spring training appearances, throwing three innings and allowing an unearned run on three hits while striking out three before things shut down.


When the 2020 season actually started at the end of July, Gaviglio got into two games early. He allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in 1/3 of an inning on July 25 against Tampa Bay and allowed a hit and a walk in 2/3 of an inning against Washington on July 29. Gaviglio was optioned to the Alternate Training Site and would return in August. He faced the Rays again on August 23 and walked one in 2/3 of an inning and pitched against the Red Sox on August 25, walking one in 1 1/3 innings. He was then sent to the Alternate Training Site against before the trade deadline and he was released a few days later on September 4.


Gaviglio would have a 9.00 ERA for the year but didn’t actually give up any runs after that first game. Statcast liked him much better in 2019 than 2020 as his average exit velocity rose to 95.8 mph and his launch angle rose to 26.4 degrees.

Gaviglio had a decent run as a Blue Jay since 2018, filling a role when necessary and pitching pretty decently out of the bullpen in 2019 but when 2020 came around, the Blue Jays appeared to have built up their pitching staff with pitchers who overtook him on the depth charts.


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