The Tampa Bay Rays called up left-handed pitcher David Price to relieve Edwin Jackson in New York on Sept. 14, 2008.
In that game, Price would pitch 5.1 innings and strike out four batters while only allowing two earned runs. We all pondered if this kid was real. After four more appearances, Price's ERA was 1.93 in 14 innings.
Price was becoming a phenomenon and was thrown into the midst of an incredible post-season for the Tampa Bay Rays. Price did not pitch in the ALDS but did find himself pitching in three of seven games in the ALCS against rival Boston. Price won once in a 9-8 game and shut the door on the Red Sox in game seven to lift Tampa to their first World Series.
From there, Price only saw action in two World Series games as the Phillies won 4-1.
What's my point?
Well, what is different from the Reds' calling up Aroldis Chapman in the midst of a battle for the NL Central? They're using him in a relief role like Tampa was doing with Price. Chapman has shown incredible, high-speed, stuff almost to the comparison of Stephen Strasburg this year.
Chapman could be vital to helping a more than adequate bullpen that features Francisco Cordero and Arthur "Thunder" Rhodes.
I wouldn't expect Chapman to be promoted to the rotation since Edinson Volquez is rehabbing in Single-A Dayton and Mike Leake is also making his way back.
The Reds are six games up on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and with less than a month left in the season, it doesn't look like they will let up.
Cincinnati has a great team that seems to be clicking as of late.
Joey Votto is on a tear and is a prime candidate for NL MVP honors. Jay Bruce is injured right now but he is a big power threat in that lineup too. Brandon Phillips is hitting near-.300 while the leadership of Scott Rolen and veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez could give them a boost in the clutch.
Chapman is a fine pitcher for the Reds' organization. Chapman will definitely help the Reds get some bullpen relief and save some innings for Cordero and Rhodes. I look at Chapman and I see 2008's David Price all over him.
John Smoltz recently commented on Chapman's recent success on the MLB Network. Smoltz said:
"“His arm is legit. It’s as dynamic as any arm we’ve seen, especially from the left-hand side. But I don’t buy the radar gun, especially when it’s down in the zone. It’s going to read a higher number. … His spin-rate and his slider with a dot like that is so tight and so nasty that it really has the hitter more confused than anything else. You throw a 103[mph fastball] down the middle; enough big league hitters are going to hit it. I’m more impressed by his slider coming off the fastball. It looks the same and you can’t tell.”
You know that you must be doing something right if a future hall of fame pitcher has something to say about you.
Ryan Gaydos is the Editor of The Baseball Blog. For more posts like this one and other baseball news and notes. Go here.