(photo from Flickr member SD Dirk)
From Buster Olney:
Aroldis Chapman was clocked at 103 mph in the ninth inning the other night -- twice -- as he closed out Columbus on behalf of the Reds' Triple-A affiliate. And what should concern National League hitters is that Chapman is throwing that hard while throwing strikes.Olney goes on to describe how Louisville pitching coach Ted Power and Reds special assistant Mario Soto had Chapman adjusted his delivery and how its helped the flame-thrower maintain balance and better command.
His streak of scoreless outings out of the bullpen for the Louisville Bats has reached 10, and in that time he has allowed just six hits and four walks over 11 1/3 innings, with 16 strikeouts. Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty said Wednesday evening that he probably will have a discussion with Reds manager Dusty Baker this week about whether and when to promote Chapman -- but clearly, he has moved onto the Reds' radar. "I see him at some point, if we decide to pull him up, helping us late in ballgames," Jocketty said.
If Chapman -- who defected from Cuba last year, and was the target of a bidding war among the Reds, Toronto, Oakland and other clubs -- continues to throw strikes with his fastball and slider, he probably will overmatch hitters. Like Stephen Strasburg, he is almost without peer in his talent.
"He's throwing strikes with all of his pitches," said Jocketty, who, like Power, has never seen anyone with an arm like Chapman's. "Never," the GM said. "Not with the consistency of velocity he has or the slider he has. He has the makings of being a really good pitcher. He was 96 to 102 mph the other night, and he did hit 103 mph a couple of times. The other thing about that is he is so free and easy. He's throwing hard, but he just looks free and easy."If you don't remember, the Reds signed Chapman to a six-year, $30.25 million deal, or right around $5 million per year.
What I want to know is what Cashman was thinking letting a talent like this get away for that price? Whether as a reliever or a starter (the Reds future plan) a 22-year-old with this talent is a great prize for any team. Now, I'm not sure the Yankees would have been able to correct the problem as well as the Reds did, but I have to hope they would have.
To me, this was always a no-brainer for the Yanks, but obviously they never felt that way. I'm sure they're starting to regret that decision.