Tag:Aroldis Chapman
Posted on: September 3, 2011 12:28 pm

Price: Chapman should eventually start

ChapmanBy Evan Brunell

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price believes Aroldis Chapman will eventually start, perhaps as early as next season.

“I can’t guarantee anything because it will be an organizational decision,” Price told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “However, I do think at some point he’s going to have a chance to start. I think it’s something we will definitely be looking at."

Chapman is in his first full season in the majors, after finishing out 2010 as a reliever in the bigs. He has a 3.89 ERA in 41 1/2 innings, punching out 62 and walking 34. The lefty had a bout of control issues earlier in the year that resulted in a phantom DL move to get him work in the minors. Since returning, he has a 2.51 ERA in 28 2/3 innings, whiffing 47 and walking 14.

“He’s filled a need for us," Price said. "He helped last year late in the season and this year as the second left-hander to Billy Bray. That was a void. But I would think in the near future he’ll be getting an opportunity to start. That was the intent when we initially signed him.”

Price believes Chapman could succeed even more as a starter, as it would allow Price to work with the Cuban defector in-between starts on improving his game.

“Right now, he’s pitching pretty much fastball, slider and attacking the zone,” Price noted. “He’s been really good commanding the zone, working ahead, not spending too much time trying to be right on the corner. He’s staying away from the deep counts. He’s getting guys where they have to swing.”

Despite pitching with just two pitches, Price doesn't believe that would be an issue in a starting capacity.

“Randy Johnson used a change-up, split-fingered pitch later in his career when he lost some velocity more so than early. [Chapman] has a change-up, and I think he has a good change-up," Price said. "To say he needs it, I don’t know if I’d say that. However, if it’s a serviceable pitch, it’s certainly something he would have in his mix.”

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Posted on: August 5, 2011 5:53 pm

Aroldis Chapman scorches netting behind plate

By Evan Brunell

ChapmanAroldis Chapman flashed his powerful fastball Friday, busting a 99-mph heater through the netting behind home plate designed to protect fans from errant throws and foul balls.

Chapman was pitching the top of the ninth in an eventual 4-3 loss for the Reds against the Cubs. He whiffed two but also gave up two hits, which snapped his hitless streak at 10 1/3 innings. It was the longest hitless streak by a reliever in a single season since Chuck McElroy in 1994, when he posted 11 1/3 innings from April 25 to May 17. McElroy finished the year with a 2.32 ERA in 57 2/3 innings,

Chapman has been on fire since returning from the disabled list on June 25, posting a scant 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, striking out 32 and walking just five. That's a far cry from walking 12 over four games totaling 1 1/3 innings, giving up two hits and 10 earned runs, whiffing three before landing on the DL after his appearance on May 14.

Meanwhile, closer Francisco Cordero is finding July a tough battle. He'll be given a longer leash, but if he struggles in August, it's possible the Reds will make a move to Chapman if a postseason spot is at stake.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 5:00 pm

Reds activate Chapman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Aroldis ChapmanApparently the Reds liked what they saw with Aroldis Chapman in the minors, because instead of optioning him to the minors following his rehab stint, the team activated the flame-throwing left-hander from the disabled list and optioned right-hander Jeremy Horst to Triple-A Louisville.

Chapman had been on the DL since May 16 with left shoulder inflammation. In nine outings, Chapman was 1-2 with an 8.31 ERA at Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville. Chapman threw a scoreless inning for Louisville on Tuesday, striking out a batter. It was Chapman's second scoreless outing in a row.

Chapman was 2-0 with a 6.92 ERA in 16 appearances for the Reds this season and didn't allow a run in his first 12 appearances. He then gave up two runs -- walking three and allowing a hit -- on April 30 against the Marlins and struggled in his next three outings before going not he disabled list. He walked four batters and was charged with four runs -- without giving up a hit -- in his last big-league outing, May 15 against St. Louis.

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Posted on: June 20, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:29 am

Chapman on verge of completing rehab

By Evan Brunell

ChapmanAroldis Chapman's final rehab assignment will come on Tuesday, which will mark the 30th day he was on assignment. That's the maximum amount of days a player can go on a rehab assignment without being activated.

"Hopefully, he'll have another good outing and we can make a positive decision," Reds manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com.

Chapman has struggled on his rehab stint, at one point moving down to Double-A for Triple-A, making his return to the majors far from a sure thing. He did show progress in rebounding from his baffling control issues, tossing two perfect innings on Saturday while whiffing three. For Double-A, Chapman has a 6.14 ERA in 7 1/3 innings, striking out 11 and walking six. His Triple-A numbers are worse: a 13.50 ERA in 4 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits -- but he did strike out eight and walked just two.

Pitching coach Bryan Price said a few weeks ago that a demotion to the minors was a sensitive topic for Chapman, as he could view it as an actual demotion whereas American players generally understand why one could be demoted to Triple-A but still be part of the club's future. Even with that in mind, Chapman's play hasn't really inspired confidence to date that he's rediscovered the ability to be a setup man for the Reds. Cincinnati may be able to better frame a demotion to the minors now that Chapman has spent 30 days down on the farm by explaining to him that they need to option him to the minors to continue getting more work, which the rehab timeframe will not allow.

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:34 am

Pepper: Pirates best at something

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans joins Adam Aizer to talk about the impressive month of May that Jay Bruce has put together and much more. Check out the video above.

TOP STADIUM? PNC PARK: In a blog over at NYTimes.com, the writer compiled data on every major league ballpark from yelp.com, which gathers fan reviews. The attempt was to get a mass audience instead of simply having one person give an opinion about the best parks. Pittsburgh's PNC Park was first place and it was rather strong. This isn't entirely surprising, as most everyone raves about the yard. The problem is the Pirates have been a futile franchise for so long you rarely so it more than about 1/3 full. Fenway Park (Boston), AT&T Park (San Fran), Target Field (Minnesota) and Camden Yards (Baltimore) round out the top five. The bottom three are Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay), Overstock.com Coliseum (Oakland) and Rogers Centre (Toronto). You have to figure places with polarizing fan bases (Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium) are a bit hurt here by fan rankings and places with overly happy fans (St. Louis) get a bit of a bump. Overall these are pretty good, though.

SORIANO GOES DOWN: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano had to leave with an strain to his left quad after his first at-bat Monday afternoon. He was trying to beat out a ground ball down the third base line and pulled up lame about three steps from first base. He left the game immediately and was replaced in left field by Blake DeWitt, who proceeded to go 3-4 the rest of the way. If Soriano hits the DL, expect Tyler Colvin to get recalled, though Cubs manager Mike Quade said DeWitt's going to be the first option in left. (Chicago Tribune)

MORE ON POSEY INJURY: Because it's been a few days since we mentioned the most important injury in the history of the world (yes, that is sarcasm), former catcher Mike Matheny believes the Scott Cousins hit to Buster Posey was unnecessary, but not dirty and there's no reason for a rule change. “It’s not a dirty play,” he said. “He didn’t come high spikes or elbow. But it wasn’t a necessary play. I loved the play at the plate as a catcher. But when a guy goes out of his way to get you, I’m not a big fan of that. It was avoidable.” So, basically, Matheny agrees with the majority of the sports world. Cool. I like Buster Posey and wish him a quick recovery, but it's utterly amazing how much fallout there's been from this injury. (Mercurynews.com)

SCORE ONE FOR STATHEADS: One of the things the old-school crowd likes to say about sabermetrics, in a pound-my-chest sort of way, is that none of them played the game. People who played the game know baseball isn't about all these numbers, right? Five time All-Star and one-time Cy Young winner David Cone actually loves advanced metrics, specifically naming WAR (wins above replacement). "Crying the blues over run support drew me into the data a little more,” Cone said last week. “Just my yearning to quantify exactly what I did in my career, trying to compare year-to-year.” Hmmm, sounds like he isn't a fan of judging pitchers on the archaic wins and losses stats. (Baseball Prospectus)

BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL: Miguel Cabrera has had his driver's license suspended every since he was arrested on DUI charges on February 16 and his case is still pending. Cabrera has, however, gotten his license back. It was determined that there wasn't enough evidence Cabrera was actually driving while intoxicated on the night of the arrest, as he was drinking a bottle of scotch in his broken-down vehicle. Let's hope this doesn't mean he gets behind the wheel while intoxicated any time soon, but he'd have to drink first. The focus seems to be on him not drinking at all, so that's more important. (Detroit Free Press)

GOOD GENES: Diamondbacks' manager Kirk Gibson very much appreciates the U.S. military, as he pointed out on Memorial Day. Things hit a bit closer to home for Gibby, as his father was actually on the USS Missouri in 1945 when the United States and Japan signed a peace treaty that ended World War II. (MLB.com)

GREAT STORY: Without re-writing the entire thing, there's no way to do justice to the story of Pawtucket strength coach Mike Roose (just click here to read on MLBlogs). Thousands of Americans have served in the military -- Roose served in the Air Force -- so it's not like he's incredibly unique, but it's cool to read about his experiences. Here's a quick quote as a preview, about when he U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein (he was there): “It was surreal,” Roose said. “It’s one of those things that you think is mythical. It’s like the Pyramids of Egypt – until you see them they don’t seem real. But Hussein is just a man. He’s flesh and blood and I saw emotions like fear and cowardice. It’s something that I’ll never forget and I’m glad we took care of him, but there’s a lot more stuff over there that needs to be done.”

TRADE TALK: When the calendar turns to June this week, it's going to be time to fire up the ol' rumor machine, as teams will begin to move into buying or selling mode. As a head start, Foxsports.com offers up the Padres, Mets, Twins, Blue Jays and Rays as bullpen sellers. Fangraphs.com gives us some first base/DH trade targets. I'm not sure the Royals would cough up Billy Butler unless they were bowled over, but I'm sure he isn't untouchable. Everything else on both lists is very realistic. If the Rays seem out of place due to being a contender, Foxsports.com made sure to point out the Scott Kazmir trade. If the Rays feel like they can get better in the long term, they'll gladly move someone.

CHAPMAN ELIGIBLE TO RETURN, BUT NOT READY: Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, but what he did on his rehab stint wasn't very good. In 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville, Chapman allowed seven runs (13.50 ERA), nine hits, two walks and two wild pitches. He did strike out eight. The Reds do have injury issues to their pitching staff, so a healthy Chapman would at least fill a vacancy, it's just that if he's as bad as he was before leaving injured, that doesn't help the team. "We want him sharp. That's the second part of this rehab stint. One was to get healthy and two was to throw the ball the way he's capable of throwing," said Reds pitching coach Bryan Price. (MLB.com)

AND PEOPLE MAKE FUN OF FANTASY BASEBALL: A 58-year-old man is playing out the 2008 baseball season with a tabletop game called APBA, in which you use dice and player cards. He has finished the regular season and it's time for the playoffs -- only he uses the format from the pre-Wild Card days. His playoff teams: Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox. All four of those teams did make the postseason, but neither of the real World Series teams (Phillies, Rays) made it. The man is doing it because he says it relaxes him. Hey, to each his own, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around this when there are still so many who think it's cool to make fun of fantasy baseball. At least fantasy players actually watch games and use real data. (Ohio.com)

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 3:04 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 4:09 pm

Worst hitting, pitching performances of May


By Evan Brunell

On Wednesday, CBSSports.com will reveal its picks for hitter and pitcher of the month for May, much as was done for April's top performers.

But there's also a flip side: the worst performers of May. In other words, which players did the most to harm their value during the second month of the season?

Here are the three worst hitting and pitching performances to date among those who received near-regular playing time:


Sam Fuld, Rays -- The Legend of Sam Fuld had an unsavory chapter written into it as the left fielder crashed back to earth after an unsustainable start to the season. No matter how intoxicating Fuld's offensive and defensive exploits were for the Rays, he was still a 29-year-old who struggled for years to keep a big-league spot on the Cubs. His batting line so far in May is a putrid .159/.178/.261, but he's still holding onto his starting job. Desmond Jennings is faring well down in the minors, so before June is out, Fuld may become a bench player.

Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- The Japanese phenom has led baseball in hits five straight seasons and seven of 11. Unfortunately, his streak might be broken this year as he's scuffled in May, hitting just .204/.262/.325 and collecting 20 hits in 98 trips to the plate. Suzuki has never had a month with less than 25 hits, but unless he goes 6 for 6 Monday against the Orioles, that will change. Suzuki previously collected a personal-worst 25 hits in September of 2002, matched in April 2007. In addition, May has historically been one of his hottest months, and he has never gotten fewer than 32 hits in the month of May, regularly registering 40-plus. That has zero chance of happening this season -- unless the team plays about 27 innings of baseball before June 1.

Placido Polanco, Phillies -- With the Phillies' stagnant offense missing Chase Utley until recently, Polanco has been batting second or third much of the year. In such a crucial part of the lineup, he tossed up a brutal line in May: .228/.268/.277. This, after a scorching April saw him finish at .398/.447/.524. Suzuki and Polanco need to break out of their slumps, as their entire value on offense is predicated on batting average. Suzuki is 37 and Polanco 35, so they're approaching the ages where they could completely lose it at the plate. That's not going to happen just yet, but it's something to keep in mind. Polanco was signed before the 2010 season and has one more year left on his deal.


Zack Greinke, Brewers -- Here's a stat from the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner that doesn't make much sense. Despite 39 strikeouts and just three walks in 28 innings, Greinke somehow has a 5.79 ERA, coughing up 18 earned runs. One problem is that five of his 29 hits allowed have gone over the fence, a highly unsustainable mark that can't continue. He's also had balls fall into play 35 percent of the time, which is a big number compared to the league average of 29 to 31 percent. In fact, his career mark in this category is 31, so that should drop as well. All in all, there's nothing to be worried about thanks to his fantastic K/BB rate, which contributes to a sterling 1.58 xFIP. Don't be surprised if Greinke is the pitcher of the month for June.

Brett Myers, Astros -- Last season, the one-time Phillie turned heads by hurling a career high 223 2/3 innings for the Astros, just the second time he broke the 200-inning barrier (2005) and only the fourth time he went over 190 innings. In his career year, Myers posted a 3.14 ERA, also a career best and just the third mark of his career under 4.00 (2005-06). This year? Well, there's a reason it was so rare for him to get an ERA under 4.00 and innings pitched over 190. He's got a 5.11 ERA this year, and while he's been unlucky, it hasn't been by a wide margin. His walk and strikeout numbers have suffered, and he's simply not pitching as well.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds -- There were plenty of relievers that had awful Mays -- Ryan Perry of the Tigers springs to mind -- but Aroldis Chapman takes the cake. The lefty appeared in three games but could only get one measly out. He allowed just one hit but delivered nine walks, coughing up eight earned runs in total. His 100-plus mph fastball was useless to him, as he didn't strike anyone out. Chapman doesn't appear hurt, but he was placed on the DL with what is effectively a phantom injury. He's been making inroads on his rehab assignment in the minors, so he should be back before long. The question remains, though: Why did Chapman completely and utterly lose it? And will it happen again?

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Posted on: May 27, 2011 9:58 am
Edited on: May 27, 2011 11:28 am

Pepper: 'Walk-off' was supposed to be bad

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Can the Marlins be a player in the National League East all season? Will the Brewers extend their winning streak? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more. Click on the video above to watch.

ON "WALK-OFF:" Dennis Eckersley coined the term "walk-off" during the 1988 season when he was a lights-out closer for the A's. "There's nothing like it," Eckersley said. "It's so final. And it centers strictly on you (the pitcher), unless it's a grounder between the third baseman's legs or something. Ultimately, you're the one." From there, Eck meant "walk-off" to be the pitcher -- probably the closer -- walking off the field from the pitcher's mound. It's interesting in that it's evolved into a mainstream term for the winning team. (SFgate.com)

THREE-HEADED JAYS: With Frank Francisco struggling, Blue Jays manager John Farrell has announced he'll use three closers: Francisco, Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, so it's going to be a bit of a matchup thing. (MLB.com) I understand the mentality these days is to pick on closer and stick with him, the thought process being that everyone knows his particular role. This method, however, is much more logical when you don't have a lock-down closer.

WORST POSSIBLE OUTCOME: You think you've seen a bad at-bat, at any level? Doubtful you've seen one this poor. Check out this tweet about San Diego State. Apparently they had the bases loaded and nobody out with a 3-0 count ... and popped out into a triple play. I don't think any words could really do that justice, so we'll just let it stand on its own.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Aroldis Chapman made a Triple-A rehab outing Thursday, and he didn't have the control issues that plagued him before his DL stint. Of the 40 pitches he threw, 29 were strikes. He also struck out five batters. On the down side, he allowed five hits and three runs. (Louisville Bats Twitter) I'd still say this has to be considered a success. He's working his way back and the biggest issue pre-injury was control. If Chapman gets back to good health and is throwing strikes, he'll get guys out. His stuff is too good not to.

RANKING THE OWNERS: Jim Caple at ESPN ranked the owners of baseball, 1-30. I was most interested to see who would "win" the title of worst owner between the McCourts (Dodgers) and Fred Wilpon (Mets). It was the McCourts, which is a correct choice but really illustrates just how bad they are. One thing I found interesting was Caple spent his entire paragraph on the Yankees defending the choice (he ranked the Steinbrenners fourth). I don't blame Caple, as it seems that everyone who isn't a Yankees fan likes to freak out about the Steinbrenners and how awful they are. But the bottom line is that they demand success in the on-field product and would rather spend any profits on making the team better than pocket it. Obviously, there's a vast difference in resources, but that doesn't happen in Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Those owners have kept revenue sharing money on several occasions.

HYPING HARPER: The hype for Bryce Harper just keeps growing, and it's because he's just toying with the pitching he's seeing in Class-A Hagerstown (1.056 OPS). Remember, he's only supposed to be a senior in high school. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus runs through a scouting report on Harper, and the power section jumps off the page. Harper gets a perfect score of 80 and the words "freakish" and "Superman" are included. Goldstein notes Mike Stanton was previously seen as the prospect most likely to hit 50 homers in a major-league season, and now that person is Harper. One word of caution, from the "makeup" category: "While it never came close to outweighing his talent, Harper's arrogant, confrontational style of play turned off many during his high school and college years. He has yet to really temper his style as a pro, which has already led to a couple of near-brawls due to a propensity to stare down opposing pitchers or gesticulate toward dugouts." (Baseball Prospectus)

WHERE DOES HE FIT? Another interesting list over at ESPN.com is the top 50 prospects of the draft era. I don't know how easy it is to compile something like this and it's gotta be completely subjective. Still, it's fun to see the names on there and remember the hype. From Shawon Dunston to Ben McDonald to Todd Van Poppel to Gregg Jefferies to, of course, Brien Taylor. Mr. Harper is on there, too, and he's pretty damn high. (ESPN Sweet Spot blog)

CONTACT HITTERS: We hear plenty of whining from fans about high-strikeout players, so let's give some props to the guys who make great contact. JunkStats put together the best hitters in terms of swing-and-miss rate (that is, the guys who don't do it often). Juan Pierre, Brett Gardner, Jamey Carroll, Denard Span and Todd Helton are the top five. The site also broke down swing-and-miss rates inside the strike zone and outside it. (JunkStats)

GREAT CAUSE: Yankees reliever David Robertson and his wife, Erin, have started a "fund to help those affected most by the devastating tornadoes that his David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL." (High Socks For Hope)

SORE HAMMY: Aramis Ramirez has been battling a tight left hamstring for the last few weeks. Does it have anything to do with why he's lost his power? ‘‘It does, but I don’t want to make excuses,’’ he told the Sun Times. ‘‘I feel good enough to drive the ball. I hit the ball on the line and hit the ball hard. I guess that’s a swing that I’ve got to find.’’ Well, he kind of just did make an excuse, but I'm not going to go after Ramirez. He's a stand up guy and always has been. Him hiding the injury for a few weeks shows he doesn't want to blame his lack of pop on anything else.

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Posted on: May 16, 2011 3:59 pm

Reds place Aroldis Chapman on DL

By Evan Brunell

ChapmanAroldis Chapman has hit the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.

Also known as "suckitude." OK, maybe he really does have inflammation, but there's been zero hint of any injury as no one has spoken about it. Oftentimes, when a player is pitching as bad as this and there are little available options, phantom injuries are created to land him on the DL. Yes, the Reds are skirting the rules, but every team does it and it's really nothing to get worked up about.

Chapman walked a dizzying four batters while registering just one out in Sunday's game. Over the last four games hearkening back to April 30, Chapman has walked 12 in 1 1/3 innings, failing to register an out twice. He's coughed up just two hits in that span, but it's awfully hard to hit what's not crossing the plate. His three strikeouts in his span all came on the 30th, so he's been especially awful the last three times out.

Pitching coach Bryan Price spoke about Chapman to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal earlier, mentioning that a demotion to Triple-A wasn't exactly as easy as it sounded, as many have wondered why he can't just be optioned out.

“Nobody here wants to send this kid down for a multitude of reasons,” Price says. “You have to look at the pros and cons of what the emotional response would be. You’re not dealing with a kid who has been in this country and understands player development.

“There is more than meets the eye here, has been from the inception. This kid has some huge hurdles to get over. Everyone is going to have their opinions. But it’s not as easy to put together as people might think.”

As for what's wrong with Chapman, manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com that "we just have to figure out what's wrong with Chapman. You've got to work and that's what he's been doing. He's working before the game with Bryan [Price], trying to find his release point. He was wild high before and now he's wild low. It seems like everything is cutting. We just have to go back and try to figure out what we're going to do at this point. We don't know."

The Reds recalled righty Jordan Smith to take Chapman's place. Smith was optioned to the minors a little over a week ago after posting a 5.29 ERA in 17 innings.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com