Category Archives: Aroldis Chapman

Happy Chapmanniversary

One year ago today the Cincinnati Reds jumped out and made an impact move, signing Aroldis Chapman.

Since then, his debut came and went with many of the doubters being silenced right from the onset. You heard it all before that–that Chapman lacked a third pitch. That he didn’t have enough control to be effective. That the Reds reached and overpaid for what amounted to a huge gamble.

102 MPH ended up out-weighing most of the primary concerns.

This was a day that should definitely be marked in Reds history and without a doubt will have a lasting impact on the franchise for the next several years and hopefully beyond.

The 2010 Reds are no longer mere mortals, Champions live on forever


With one swing of the bat, the Cincinnati Reds have vaulted themselves into immortality. This was more than a monumental win to clinch the first postseason birth since your editor was a child. This was the aligning of the stars. This was something that happens once in a lifetime.

Aroldis Chapman gets the win. Jay Bruce is forever the hero. The Reds could have clinched over the weekend in San Diego. They could have clinched while idle last night. If not for all those 9th inning collapses, and those 45 come from behind victories; we wouldn’t have been given that sweet moment that was last night.

Everything happens for a reason, both in baseball and in life. There are no coincidences. This was some kind of special gift, given to us for 15 years plus of suffering. This was Marge Schott’s ghost flying over the stadium, this was Carl Lindner and the visions of Ken Griffey Jr. tearing up his hamstrings and his knee and every other injury all over that field. This was a reward for the Austin Kearns’ and the Adam Dunn’s being something less of what you wanted. And for the Jeremy Sowers and the Chris Grulers and for the Wily Mo Pena’s never quite working out.

Thousands of players through the years could not reach the heights of this high character group, a group full of guys who cried grown man tears tonight when they gave you and I what we’ve all been waiting so long for.

Like Homer Bailey said tonight after the game, all of these kids came up together. They all know each-other. These are our home grown kids. The nucleus wasn’t purchased. In a day in age in this game where so many teams go out and buy parts, or through the years write checks to collect what they need to get to this spot, we did it the unconventional and wholesome way. We did it a year ahead of schedule. We did it our way, the way the Indians did it in Major League with a dramatic script finish right out of The Natural.

This is one of the finest moments I’ll ever have in sports. It’s one of those moments when we started this blog that I never imagined being part of it all. If you live to be 100, you’ll never have something like this happen twice. And if it does somehow; which it will not, the next time around would never be this sweet. This is the wedding, the honeymoon and the anniversary all wrapped into one.

Trailing off into clouds of Heaven, this is your editor signing off for the night. I love these 2010 Cincinnati Reds.

Aroldis Chapman brings out Matthew Lecroy's inner woman

Last night, I saw the fear in Matthew Lecroy’s eyes as he tried to fend off, fight, scratch, and claw through an at-bat with the 6 foot 6 Cuban flamethrower on the mound.

You could see that this man was no longer a Major League Baseball player but a man who was fighting for mere survival and his only weapon in this jungle was a toothpick. It was something you could only understand if you’ve played for a while but I know how he felt; to a degree.

Lucroy knew he was absolutely shit on the moment he stepped foot in the box and nothing in his arsenal could do anything to combat what the Cuban lefthander had in his. If he’d faced Chapman 100 times out of 100, he’d only have been able to break a few bats and the tears would have started flowing.

After a slider that headed for the back foot of Lecroy dropped in, it was over. He’d been shit on and made into less of a man. And you saw the look of helplessness in his eyes that a 104 MPH fastball and a plus-plus slider does to a big league hitter. He looked like Matthew Lecroy, little league piss-ant.

And it was awesome.

Chapmania: Night 2 yields a win, and a sweep

[Box Score]
[Cincinnati.com] [Hardball Talk]

There’s a lot going on with this team right now. On the night the Reds climbed 8 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central race, Aroldis Chapman picked up his first win in his career. This will also go down in history as the night that Yonder Alonso made his big league debut (albeit with an excuse me type swing). The excitement at the ball park is palpable if you’re a true fan that has watched this team flounder for the past decade.

I’m impressed by Chapman. I can’t figure out how he is throwing as hard as he is, but I figure that they’ve got his mechanics just right at this point and he’s in the zone on the mound in mastering those mechanics. That’s why you see the jump on the fastball. That’s why you see the slider (which probably grades out at a perfect 80 by scouts). I buy the momentum and shot in the arm that Chapman represents. I don’t think it’s overstated in the slightest. The guy makes the Reds contenders to go deep in the postseason.

I think the National League is wide open; and the Reds will be right in the thick of things if they can get a few guys back healthy. I’m concerned about Jay Bruce. I’m concerned about Arthur Rhodes. I’m needing to see Phillips swing the bat well for a few weeks. But if they get these things in place I’m telling you right now that this team could roll right into the World Series if the stars get a little more aligned. I’m not being a homer. I’m telling you, it’s a reality.


And now for my favorite Clapton tune of all time. You tell me with a straight face that this one shouldn’t be played on the loudspeakers at a ball park near you!

Aroldis Chapman’s Big League Debut

Seems like a day of reckoning has arrived Reds fans. After a decade and a half of losing, we’re as close to the top of the baseball world as we’ve been since 1990.

Last night, as Joey Votto and Scott Rolen made back to back extraordinary plays to close out the Reds 8-4 victory and ensure another series win; they did it just as Thom Brennaman had announced that the Cardinals had been shut out yet again. The Reds lead over the Cardinals had been increased to seven games with just 30 left to play.

But the story of the night was the phenom Aroldis Chapman and his fastball going 101, 100, 102, 103 and a slider that fell off the table.

Reds call up Cuban Lefty Aroldis Chapman and his heat

I was out on the golf course last night probably hitting a sliced drive when the Reds announced that Aroldis Chapman was coming to the big leagues today.

And has there ever been a better time to be a Reds fan? Life is good. Here we are in the midst of a pennant race, and we get to add a guy to the bullpen who has been consistently hitting triple digits on the radar gun.

Chapman’s debut will be just as special as the other uber-prospects that have been up in recent years, but it will be a debut that is not able to be predicted ‘when’. I would expect it to come in one of the next two ballgames though; because the Reds pen has been worked pretty hard lately.

Thinking back to our thoughts on when the Reds signed this kid; who knew that he wouldn’t be here until the day until September? We’ve done all of this without his nuclear fastball. Wow, the future is bright barring something unforeseen.

And in his honor tonight, I’ll sit on my porch and smoke one of these. There is no finer cigar than that of a Cohiba from Cuba. It’s smooth, but with just the right amount of strength to it. I’ve got two that are the size of donkey-dicks sitting on my dresser right now because they’re too big for my humidor! So I figure after the Reds win again tonight, I’ll take the hour or so necessary to finish one of these bad boys in honor of Aroldis Chapman.

Welcome to the show, and good luck kid.

Update: For those of you who haven’t seen it yet……

Jocketty-speak on the subject of Aroldis Chapman

Walt Jocketty said today it’s going to be tough for phenom Aroldis Chapman to start the season in the Major Leagues due to his injury:
Jocketty said “it’s going to be tough” for him to make the big-league club because of the injury. Chapman is scheduled to pitch two innings against minor leaguers on Wednesday. The Reds haven’t decided where to send him to open the season.
He also talked about how Chapman was ‘still learning the language’ and ‘had a lot of work to do’. I don’t know. It’s a questionable move that we all know has nothing to do with Chapman’s performance, injury, his pronunciation of English words, etc.
This was decided before Chapman ever stepped foot in Goodyear, that he’d start the year in the minor leagues. The dominance that Chapman displayed probably came as a surprise to the Reds and allowed him to stay in camp with the big boys a lot longer then they first thought.
It would be nice if factors like salary arbitration didn’t come into play, but for the Reds they always do and then you’re left talking about things like injuries and knowledge of the language that are holding your 98 MPH flame-throwers back. When really it’s just that they want him in their control for an extra year without having to give him a long-term deal.
We’ll see you sometime in June, Aroldis.

Peter Gammons on Aroldis Chapman

We interrupt this beautiful day in the world of blogging to bring you some Aroldis Chapman love, and this time it’s coming from Peter Gammons over at MLB.com.

The first pitch I ever saw Aroldis Chapman throw from behind home plate was one of the things you dream on. Here is this 22-year-old kid with the body of a young Randy Moss and the wingspan of a great blue heron, and out of his hand came a change-up for a strike. Perfect arm speed, dead fish.

“He has the best left-handed fastball I’ve ever seen,” says the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier.

This isn’t the first person who’s noted that Chapman might be beyond special. John Fay has stated several times in talking to scouts around MLB that he has as good of stuff as anyone in the National League.

As a friend pointed out to me, they heard the same thing about Jose Contreras and Hideki Irabu. And as I said back to him, those guys were both fat toads and were not 22 years old.

Chapman has a ways to go, but to think that he’s not going to be a shot in the arm to the Cincinnati Reds whenever he does get the opportunity would be selling him short to say the least.

Chapman should head North East with the Big Club come April

It’s been a long time since something truly big has hit the Cincinnati baseball world. You can make the case for the day in 2000 when Griffey came home. You can talk about Jay Bruce’s arrival. Those were each hallmark days for the franchise without a doubt.

But right now, we’re talking about something that is getting noticed regularly on a national level; we’re talking about a young pitcher who was coveted by every team in baseball including the big boys. The Reds got him, and looks like all the organizations who had their scouts in watching interest of Chapman were correct; the guy is going to be something to be reckoned with at the Major League Level. It’s simply a case of when the Reds choose to start launching the missile.

Take for instance what John Fay said yesterday in his blog after Chapman’s first exhibition start:
I overheard this from a scout: “He’s their best pitcher right (now). How are they going to start him in the minors?”

Three innings, one walk, five more strikeouts. One earned run allowed on a home run; and that’s all the Brewers touched Chapman for.

If the Reds were going to say that Chapman not having enough control as the reason for starting him in the minors, they’re going to have to find another excuse it would appear. It would seem that the popular choice at this point would be that he’s going to the minors to work on developing other pitches. Yeah, alright.

When GM Walt Jocketty was asked about Chapman making the big club, he maintained that the Reds will go with their best 25, regardless of any arbitration eligible decisions that clubs like the Reds so often make when considering calling up young talent for good.

It’s clear that they’re going to probably start him in the minors and hand the 5th spot to Matt Maloney, who is a lefty with about a fourth of the stuff that Chapman has; breaking ball developed or no breaking ball. Then the only way Chapman and his $30 million contract are helping the Reds is the fact that Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are never going to have to go up against the guy. That’s a plus in itself. When we were listening to the game on the radio yesterday, a Brewers radio anouncer said it best. Chapman is the kind of pitcher who can start you down the road of a long slump.

If the Reds want to do the right thing, they’ll put this kid in the Major Leagues and see what he’s got. If they really want this move to be a statement move, he’ll be out there in April. What we think happens? Chapman starts in a minors and might have a shaky start or two, but then shows the dominance beyond his years at that level and is up with the Reds in May or early June. This after the Reds get out to an average start and see one of their starters go down to an injury or Matt Maloney surrenders 7 earned runs in a start.

Why wait? Let this guy learn against the best in the game because he appears to be ahead of the learning curve in terms of maturity and pure stuff on the mound.

It’s been long enough since the Reds were the true talk of baseball. If they get out to a good start and their youngsters (such as Chapman) are reason for that; can you imagine the positive press it would bring to the organization for having the guts to start Chapman in the big leagues?

The Reds want to delay the inevitable on this. They want to hurry up and wait. We’ve been waiting since 1990. The future is now. We don’t have time to bleed. You’re not going to win a World Series with Matt Maloney pitching every fifth day. Give in to the temptation and let this guy start racking Major League numbers. Afterall, you’d be giving your fielders a day off every 5th day.
The Aroldis Chapman hype is growing like a weed. And we’ll let it continue to grow here. In case you haven’t gotten enough hype on his one spring inning pitched debut yesterday, here’s a good read of how he was throwing 100 MPH easily and would have struck out Rick Ankiel 100 times if he faced him 100 times. I’m excited about Aroldis, but come on. [ESPN SweetSpot]

"So what's it like to throw 100 and 102 MPH?"

People wonder why he was signed to a $30 million plus deal before ever throwing a big league pitch. How many people in the world to you think can throw that hard, left-handed mind you; and mix in a filthy slider?
Hat tips: to our boys Trent Rosecrans and John Fay for the great twitter updates.
Oh and by the way Jay Bruce doubled.
Update: Joe Posnanski over at SI reacts to the outing.

A metal bat in Chris Burke's hands would still make this a mis-match

And here you go ladies and gentleman. Footage of Aroldis Chapman throwing live BP for the first time as a professional ballplayer.

Wouldn’t you know that he draws Chris Burke? Has to be in case one slips from Chapman ala Randy Johnson in the AS game a few years back (vs. John Kruk) and it ends up connecting, they want it to be someone who is expendable.

Burke would fit that mold. This guy has zero chance to make the big league club out of spring.

Hat tip: Paying homage to C Trent over at CNATI.

The four greatest words in the English language?

That’s Aroldis Chapman stretching in the outfield of Goodyear, Arizona. And today is a glorious day for baseball fans in this great nation. So hug your wife, pet your dog, suck up to your boss, or just smile in general; because today is a great day.
Pitchers-and-catchers-report.
It won’t be long and we’ll have that exhibition baseball to actually talk about. More to come later today as far as goodies go.