Cincinnati Reds: Aroldis Chapman Is the NL's Best Closer
Make no mistake about it, Aroldis Chapman is the best closer in the NL. Chapman's season so far is nothing short of astounding.
In 52 appearances, Chapman has pitched 56 innings compiling 27 saves, a 1.29 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 105 Ks to just 14 walks.
Chapman is averaging nearly two strikeouts per inning (1.875) and is on pace to shatter Eric Gagne's K/9 Record of 14.976 as he currently sits at 16.88.
These few numbers don't even do Chapman's season justice.
Chapman's K/BB rate is 7.5 and he hasn't walked a batter in six straight appearances. For a guy who routinely throws in the 100 mile-per-hour range, Chapman has exhibited impressive control.
Among regular closers, Chapman leads the NL in K (105), K/BB (7.50), K/9 (16.88) and WAR (3.0). Chapman is also second to Craig Kimbrel in ERA (1.29 to 1.26) WHIP (.65 to .68).
Additionally, Chapman is third in saves (27) behind Joel Hanrahan (33) and Craig Kimbrel (31). Take the fact that he's only third in saves lightly as he wasn't given the closing job officially until the end of May.
In fact, before Chapman recorded his first save on May 20th, the Reds had 10 games that ended with potential save situations. Given Chapman's 87.1 save conversion percentage, had he been the closer all season long, Chapman would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 saves.
The crazy thing about Chapman's success is that he does it all while throwing almost exclusively fastballs.
Chapman throws his fastball 81.1 percent of the time and mixes in a slider 12.3 percent of the time, filling the other 6.6 percent of pitches with change-ups.
Even when batters know Chapman is coming with a fastball, they rarely hit it, and that's impressive in it's own right.
Chapman has been all-around dominant in 2012, just take a look at his numbers against the National League this season: 50.2 IP, .18 ERA, .59 WHIP, 98 K, 17.57 K/9 and a 7.54 K/BB rate.
His worst outings of the season came against American League teams (Detroit, Minnesota and Cleveland). Aside from the seven earned runs allowed to those three teams, Aroldis Chapman has allowed just one earned run.
Chapman hasn't allowed a run in 21 straight appearances. In that same time frame, Chapman has recorded 18 saves. He's faced 71 batters and recorded 41 strikeouts while allowing just eight hits and walking two.
The Reds are one of the hottest teams in baseball and they continue to turn the ball over to Chapman in save situations. Chapman's numbers should only get better and he's making as strong a case as anybody for the Rolaids Fireman of the Year Award
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