The 2013 fantasy baseball season hasn’t even started yet and the Cincinnati Reds have already changed their closer. The team has shockingly stated that 2012 All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman will be entering the rotation in 2013.
The Reds have finally decided to move this fireballer into the rotation because his raw potential is simply too much to ignore. Right now Chapman is slated as the team’s fifth starter behind Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey. Chapman may be a new member of the rotation, but his 135 innings pitched in the majors have certainly removed any rookie stigma.
Chapman eventually earned the closer role down the stretch for the Reds last year and he was still able to finish third in the NL with 38 saves. The move into the rotation definitely hurts his value as of one of the best fantasy closers, but it makes him an extremely strong sleeper starter to watch for in 2013.
He remains one of the only pitchers in the game who can still top out at over 100 m.p.h. and that kind of raw power will always be dangerous–not to mention that he is a southpaw, which only gives him more strikeout ability from the bump.
The most impressive fantasy asset that he has is his remarkable ability to mow down opposing batters. Last season alone, Chapman struck out 122 batters in only 71.2 innings of relief. He is one of the most dangerous strikeout pitchers in baseball, so fantasy owners should certainly keep an eye on him throughout the draft.
He also only walked 23 batters last year, posted an insane 1.51 ERA and an even more impressive 0.81 WHIP. The youngster has shown ridiculous control at the major league level for a pure strikeout pitcher.
Chapman is one of the best low-end starters to target in the middle rounds of drafts this spring. He can throw it faster than most other hurlers in the game and he will be a very dangerous fantasy starter once he gets up to speed in his new role.