Cincinnati Reds: How Many Wins Does Aroldis Chapman Add to the Rotation?

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 2: Reliever Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Now that Aroldis Chapman is on his way to the starting rotation, it is a good time to think about how much of a difference he can really make for the Cincinnati Reds.

Fans will want to hear that he will make a huge impact in the rotation, but his presence in the starting five won't changed much in the win column. That's not a knock on him, it's a tip of the cap to what the rotation did last season.

Johnny Cueto had a shot at winning the NL Cy Young last season, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey had breakout seasons, Bronson Arroyo was himself again and Mike Leake did a good job as the No. 5 starter.

Could Leake have been better? Of course. He took a step back in 2012, but fans need to remember he is only 25 years old. Give him some time to become a consistent pitcher in the big leagues.

The Reds' rotation ranked fifth in baseball earned run average and ninth in wins last season, according to






Johnny Cueto 33   217    23 19 9 2.78
Mat Latos 33   209.1    18 14 4 3.48
Bronson Arroyo 32   202    19 12 10 3.74
Homer Bailey 33   208    21 13 10 3.68
Mike Leake 30   179    17 8 9 4.58

Clearly Leake was the weak link in terms of the major categories. However, he was only one quality start behind Latos. It just shows that he was solid but needs to be more consistent.

Had it not been for numerous blown saves by the bullpen, the starters would have had more than the 66 wins they were credited with. 

So with Chapman taking Leake's spot in the rotation, will it affect the group's win total in 2013?

Chapman will be on an inning's limit next season, according to Bryan Price via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

With his fastball and slider alone, he has the stuff to win at least 10 games next season. It's being extremely optimistic that his stuff will translate to the rotation, but he will have to throw more off-speed pitches as a starter, which isn't a bad thing with his slider.

Let's assume the Cuban Missile makes at least 25 starts (barring injuries). His numbers as a starter in the minors should be thrown out because he has grown as a pitcher since 2010.

Last year, Leake won about 27 percent of his starts, which would give Chapman about seven wins to start out with. I would be stunned if Chapman's percentage is anywhere near that low. I know that's not how baseball works, but this is basically a comparison of Leake and Chapman.

Chapman has filthier pitches and can strike hitters out. He has cut down on the walks, but his strikeouts bail him out if he allows anyone to reach base.

Fans are probably being a little unrealistic in thinking he will win more than 15 games next season. He will be in double figures, but it would be tough for him to win that many games in his first year as a starter.

He will likely win anywhere from 10 to 13 games unless he is allowed to make more than 25 starts. In the future, he has the chance to be a legitimate ace. Just don't put too much pressure on the man to carry this team to a World Series. 

The left-hander will have days where he just doesn't have control and will hit the showers early. He may start the year off with a pitch limit to ease him into the role. His situation is nothing like we have ever seen in Cincinnati.

Adding wins to the rotation isn't based purely on the number of victories he will have to his record. Limiting the losses should also be taken into consideration, and he will be nowhere near Leake's total of nine.

If he can have a few more victories than Leake and cut the losses in half, the decision to make him a starter will look great.

From a fan's perspective, he will add a lot of hype to this great rotation. Looking at it by the numbers, his presence in the rotation will not be felt much in the regular season. If he pitches well in the regular season and is available for October, this team could be having a World Series victory parade.

Until the team announces his limitations, Chapman is only good for no more than five more victories out of the starting rotation in 2013  (when comparing him to Leake). This is a team that won 97 games and ran away with the NL Central in 2012. He is a phenomenal pitcher, but his impact in the regular season will be minuscule.

Moving Chapman to the rotation was done to help this team in the playoffs. If he pitches in the postseason, he has the ability to lead this team to the World Series. 

Feel free to share how much of an impact you think Chapman can have as a starter next season.


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