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Cincinnati Reds Reliever Aroldis Chapman Gets the Call: AroldisMania Begins

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 09:  Oroldis Chapman #51 of the Louisville Bats throws a pitch during the game against the Rochester Red Wings at Louisville Slugger Field on May 9, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Illya HarrellAnalyst IINovember 6, 2016

Aroldis Chapman is coming to The Queen City. As if the Reds' biggest division lead in 15 years isn't enough to have fans in a tizzy, this is the quintuple cherry.

"Look for the city of Cincinnati to explode when Aroldis does get the call." Back on March 6, those words were written in a Bleacher Report article.

At the time "The Cuban Missile" was in hot contention for the fifth spot in the Reds starting rotation. When camp opened the job was his to lose.

Inconsistency, trouble finding the zone, and a bad back landed him with the Reds' Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats.

While down on the farm, he continued to struggle with control—as a starting pitcher.

In a move that turned out Einstein-esque, Chapman was moved into a back-end bullpen role.

While the Reds hope the crystal ball shows Chapman as a starter, for this season's stretch run, it's doubtful that anyone will complain when the 103 mph lefty enters from the bullpen.

In 13 Louisville starts, his numbers had many Reds fans Googling, "dead baseball player does contract still need to be paid."

Since the early-July move to the pen, the Cuban emigree's stats suddenly turned from chunks of coal into fine diamonds—a process that usually takes millions of years.

In 26 relief appearances, Chapman has held opponents to a .156 batting average. He's struck out 49 in 30 innings pitched, yielding only one long ball, allowing 17 hits, and 12 walks.

The walks are still up there. However, standing in the box facing a guy humming trips and not exactly having the best control is, well, sort of bloodcurdling.

Adding to the Aroldis lore, in his last game for the Bats, Chapman supposedly hit a Sidd Finchian 105 mph on the radar gun.

Tinkering with radar guns has long been used to artificially inflate the speed of the pitch. So it would be suspicious if he had hit 105 on the stadium gun.

But Chapman was clocked at 105 by both the stadium's radar and a handful of scouts.

Which either makes it true, or a vast conspiracy.

Regardless, Chapman throws pure Hydrogen Peroxide—not the diluted stuff purchased off the store counter.

"Look for the city of Cincinnati to explode when Aroldis does get the call."

While it is unlikely that Great American Ball Park will spontaneously combust when the bullpen door opens and Chapman starts his way to the mound, it might be wise for Reds catchers to switch to a special extra-padded Aroldis mitt.

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