We’ve been salivating over the young pitching talent in this organization lately, and there’s more to drool over today. John Fay writes about Travis Wood and Mike Leake here (we linked it earlier, but C. Trent’s piece on the same subject is excellent reading as well). Meanwhile, over at Redlegs Baseball there is this in-depth look at Leake; good stuff.

Finally, you don’t want to miss this scouting report on Aroldis Chapman. It’s written by….wait for it….a scout! He seems to be as impressed as we are:

Let’s look at the big picture, though. Chapman, at 100 percent effort, could be a starting pitcher with a 94-98 mph fastball, a plus slider in the upper-80s, and a plus changeup in the low-80s. With that type of repertoire, his tall frame, and his handedness, there is almost no precedent. Is he raw? Most definitely. Given his inconsistencies could he flame out? Yes. But, this is the type of talent you invest your money in, because it just does not come along often.

You can’t see the smile on my face but, trust me, it’s there.

20 Responses

  1. TC

    My initial impression of Chapman on Thursday while following his outing via twitter was not great. It seemed his control was in fact as big an issue as everyone made it out to be. However, that was an interesting scouting report.

    I hope they can resist the temptation to bring him east to give him as much time as he needs to develop. Joe Fan, however, will likely prematurely force management’s hand to bring him up. Probably because they’ll need to boost ticket sales some time in late May or early June.

    Maloney, Leake, and Wood have all helped quell the discussion for now with their outstanding outings this weekend.

  2. Bill Lack

    I would say that the MSM will also force his hand by the huge coverage they give him every time he burbs…and John has already predicted he’ll be on the Opening Day roster (as much it seems for his ability to sell tickets as his ability on the mound).

  3. Travis G.

    The spot is Chapman’s to lose, it would seem. Based on the comments of everyone around the team, it sounds like he’s got to pitch himself out of the Opening Day rotation.

  4. Mark in CC

    I can not imagine him on the Opening Day Roster if the reports on his contract going from 6 years to 3 if he is in the big leagues before mid-May are true.

    I guess I will withhold comment on the concept of “Fabulous Young Pitchers” until they prove it.

  5. preach

    Gotta agree with Mark on this one. I think the contract situation may very well preclude his coming east. I would expect him in Cinci as soon as practical, however.

  6. Steve

    If Chapman starts in the major leagues it’s not that the Reds lose control of him after three years, only that he becomes eligible for arbitration instead of being paid the agreed-upon amounts in the contract that have been widely published.

    While I’m sure the Reds would rather avoid the potential exposure of arbitration, it’s not like Chapman’s ties to Cincinnati would be reduced.

    I think it’s too soon to tell about his place on the Opening Day roster. Lots of pitching between now and then, including by Matt Maloney, Travis Wood and Mike Leake. The Reds will be cautious with Chapman because of his transition to America and English.

  7. TC

    The contract is not as much a problem as we thought. If he comes east with the team the 5 million in salary for the last three years becomes a bonus. But, then he becomes arb eligable which may cost 5-10 million a year on top of the 30 million for 3 years depending on how he does.

    If he does join the team later this year, but late enough to not be eligable for super two then the 3 million left becomes a bonus and he’s eligable for arbitration for the remaining two years on his contract.

  8. Bill Lack

    Question….do you guys think it’s a given that the #5 spot will go to a “young guy” as opposed to someone like Lehr or Wells?

  9. Sultan of Swaff

    I think Lehr has a great shot at nabbing the spot. For me, it’s between him and Maloney–guys who throw a lot of strikes and don’t walk people, which Wells never figured out. I’m comfortable with either as the long man as well. It’s a win-win, and if Wood blows the doors off, the depth the older guys provide at AAA will be invaluable. Either way you go, what’s not to like?

  10. RiverCity Redleg

    @Bill Lack: Yes, I think Wells has 0 chance and Lehr little chance of being the #5 to start the season. However, I am a tad surprised that Michah Owings has gotten so little ink and talk about regaining the spot. IMO, if Maloney or Woods can grab it, GREAT. If not, I’m not opposed to giving Owings another shot.

  11. Sultan of Swaff

    Owings can’t throw strikes. That alone precludes him IMO.

  12. RiverCity Redleg

    SoS, I agree to an extent, but he has shown in the past (@ Ariz last year) the ability to control a game and throw strikes. If he can show more consistancy at throwing strikes, he’s at least worth another look there. But, as I said, that’s only if one of the younger guys don’t grab it.

  13. preach

    I would love for Owings to get it, if for no other reason than to give Marty fits throughout the season. I’m convinced Michah could throw a 6 hit shutout and Marty would criticize him for giving up at least 3 of those hits. “He’ll never figure it out, folks.” It would also be nice to have his bat in the lineup every fifth day and be available for pinch hit duties.

    I sure am glad we are having this discussion regarding the FIFTH spot in the rotation. Once upon a time one of these candidates could have been our opening day starter.

  14. hoosierdad

    @preach: Agree entirely about Owings. Having a pitcher who can handle the bat is a nice plus. Also, if he is a long reliever you really can’t pinch-hit with him. Unless he has pitched 3+ innings the day before, you have to save him in case the game goes into extra innings. In my opinion, if he can’t make the roster as the #5 starter he shouldn’t make it at all. Hopefully, being reunited with Price will help him.

  15. GregD

    I think it is Owings vs Maloney vs Wood. If Wells or Lehr make the team, it will be as a long reliever, IMO.

    There was at least one article a week or two ago I remember reading about Price & Owings. I’m rooting for Owings to successfully claim and hold the 5th starter’s spot, but I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if Maloney or Wood earned it this spring.

  16. Bill Lack

    Another question…assuming neither Lehr nor Wells makes this team, do you want one, both, or neither at Louisville?

  17. GregD

    @Bill Lack: I think it depends on where they want to start Chapman and Leake & if one of Maloney or Wood is the #5 starter.

    If Owings wins the #5 spot, and Leake starts in AAA, there is just no room for the veterans.

    If Maloney is the #5 guy, Leake and Chapman start in A+ or AA, then you have room for one of them…and I’d keep Lehr in the organization. (the 5 starters likely being Wood, Lecure, Klinker, Thompson – if healthy, and Lehr)

  18. preach

    Owings is better than what he pitched last year. I believe Price will have a profound impact.

    And as was mentioned earlier, having his bat is nice. Even if he doesn’t pitch lights out, his offense is good for some of those runs back.

    I would still love to see him pick up a position and use him on double switches to pitch in the middle of an inning.

  19. Bill Lack

    Stories I’m hearing are that Thompson won’t make the AAA roster, FWIW. I’d start both Chapman and Leake at A+…if that’s too low, you’ll know it quickly and can move them up. As I’ve said before, I like young guys to taste some success before being challenged. The Reds are going to have as many interesting decisions in the minor leagues as they will on the big league roster.

  20. TC

    Lehr, yes. But Wells, with the pitching depth I don’t think he is necessary.

    Currently, my vote for number 5 goes to Maloney.