Good grief. Is there anything Aroldis Chapman can’t do?
The young Cuban phenom made his first start for the Reds today in Goodyear, against the Brewers. The result: Three innings, one hit, one run, one walk, five strikeouts. Are you kidding me? Nothing fazes this kid.
Here’s what the Brewers’ Doug Davis said: “He’s going to be one of the greats if he stays healthy.” Corey Hart: “Nothing was straight. Everything moved.”
Then there’s this:
Chapman showed the Reds another wrinkle Wednesday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He looked outstanding,Ã¢â‚¬Â Baker said. Ã¢â‚¬â„¢He had a nasty sinker, a two-seamer we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even know he had. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s slowly but slowly adding to his repertoire of pitches. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feeling more confident.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ummm…he threw a pitch the Reds didn’t even know he had???? What??!?!?!?!
Our buddy Steve over at Seeing Reds got some good pics of today’s Chapman start, including a look at that split-finger:
Steve also had a pic that apparently showed the trainers looking at what appears to be a blister or something Chapman is developing (see the pic at the bottom of this post, below the fold). It didn’t affect him today, clearly. Lots of other great pictures and video over at Steve’s site; I recommend you check them out.
At this point, you gotta believe that Chapman is going to break camp with the Reds if he keeps this up. I just don’t know how they’d justify sending him to the minors when they could have a latter-day “Fernando-mania” situation on their hands. Chapman would put butts in the seats…not to mention the fact that he certainly looks like the Reds best pitcher right now. (I still think the minors is the best option, at least initially, but sheesh…this kid keeps impressing.)
GM Walt Jocketty answered some questions about Chapman, including the question of whether he can make the team. Most interesting to me, however, is this quote from The Phenom, addressing his earlier-reported control problems:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I fixed some of the mechanical problems I had,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“My control is not a problem at this moment.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ten strikeouts, two walks. His control has been pretty good so far, with all his pitches. Is it possible that the instruction Chapman has received since arriving on these shores has already put the kid over the top? Should we induct pitching coach Bryan Price into the Reds Hall of Fame yet?
You know, I have a tendency to get over-excited in the spring anyway, but this is ridiculous. I’ve never seen anything like it.