Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Chapman Factor (*in brief **with footnotes)

Later today, 21 year old Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman will throw a side session in Houston for a variety of MLB teams.  Much has been said about Chapman's abilities and those more qualified have written about this kid here and here.

Here are the facts we know:

1.  He is left-handed, stands at 6'2", weighs roughly 180 lbs and his fastball can top off at 100 mph (although some rumors persist that Chapman can hit 102 mph on the radar guns).

2.  Chapman pitched for Holguin in the Serie Nacional, Cuba’s professional league, and posted an overall record of 24-21 and would go on to lead the league in strikeouts in two different seasons.

3.  During the World Baseball Classic in March of 2009, Chapman displayed an above average slider but scouts feel that his change-up needs work.

4.  Chapman did struggle against Team Japan at the WBC.  According to scouting reports, his command was off and his lack of secondary pitches (especially his changeup) was apparent against the more patient Japanese hitters.

5.  The Boston Red Sox have "unofficially" presented Chapman with a package totaling $15.5M.

Here is a video taken in 2007 from the World Baseball Cup against Japan:

I'm guessing the bidding won't get too out of hand and that will be a good thing since other teams besides the Yankees and Red Sox will find themselves in the hunt.  Should be interesting.

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