Will Aroldis Chapman Become the Closest Thing We'll See to Mariano Rivera?

Scott L. HutchinsonCorrespondent IJune 4, 2012

HOUSTON,TX-JUNE 01: Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Cincinnati Reds throws against the Houston Astros in the ninth inning on June 1, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Cincinnati beat Houston 4-1. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

When New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera suffered a torn knee ligament earlier this season, the sport of baseball may have witnessed the end of an era.

No relief pitcher has ever dominated opposing batters quite like "Mo," and few ever will.

That said, Cincinnati Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman looks to have all of the makings of a superstar, and should he stay healthy, he could potentially be on his way to a Rivera-like career.

Perhaps a quick look at his stat sheet puts it best:

Since officially being named the Reds closer on May 20, Chapman has literally been unhittable, racking up five saves through six hitless (and scoreless) innings. Even more impressively, he has dominated opponents with apparent ease, striking out 12 while allowing only two walks over the same six-inning span.

As for his season-long statistics? They're video game numbers—with a cheat code on:

A 4-0 record. A 0.00 ERA. A 50-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

So, is Chapman the heir to the Rivera throne? Maybe not, but with the league's nastiest fastball, a disappearing slider and a Rivera-like intimidation factor on his side, Chapman's ceiling is virtually nonexistent.

Just don't be surprised to hear baseball commentators debate over a similar question down the road:

Who's the next Aroldis Chapman?