Aroldis Chapman: What Can Baseball Fans Realistically Expect From Him?
Aroldis Chapman gets his shot
The Cincinnati Reds called up Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, trying to strengthen their bullpen for a postseason run.
By bringing up Chapman this late in the season, the Reds are able to pitch him in the playoffs and display his stuff against opposing hitters who have never seen him.
The 22-year-old Chapman signed a six-year $30.25 million deal with Cincinnati in January. He was intended to compete for the fifth starter's spot during spring training, but was sidelined by back spasms and never regained his full strength.
Struggles in Triple-A
He started the season in Triple-A Louisville. The talk around the season was when he would get sent up to the big leagues along with Stephen Strasburg.
Chapman struggled in Triple-A and received mixed results from many analysts. He went 5-5 in 13 starts with a 4.11 ERA.
Everyone knows the Reds can hit. They are ranked in the top five in every offensive category, but pitching wins in the playoffs.
Chapman's strenght as a reliever
The Reds moved Chapman into a relief role at Louisville last month and he looked like he was coming into his own. He went 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 26 relief appearances.
His fastball hit 103 as a starter, but Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty said the young lefty is consistently throwing harder as a reliever. Chapman struck out 49 batters in 30 relief innings and hit 105 mph on the radar gun.
After watching the game Tuesday night, Chapman looks like the real deal. He retired the Milwaukee side in the eighth inning. His first pitch was a 98-mph fastball. He hit 103 three pitches later, and four of his eight pitches hit triple-digits.
"We've got the Usain Bolt of baseball," Reds starter Bronson Arroyo told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "There are probably less than ten guys that have ever walked the earth that have ever thrown that hard."
Chapman's future as a Major League Pitcher
Chapman will help the Reds tremendously as they enter the postseason with only 30 games left in the regular season and a firm lead in the division.
He is a true starter, but Chapman will bode well as a relief pitcher, maybe a set up man with his unbelievable fast ball and nasty slider.
With Stephen Strasburg expected to miss 12-18 months will Tommy John Surgery, baseball fans should gear their attention towards Aroldis Chapman for the remainder of this season and beyond.
The Cuban phenom is young and has plenty of time to learn the ropes as a Major League pitcher.
He reminds me of David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. Price is one of the premier pitchers in the majors and soon Chapman will be as well.
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