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.