After flirting with the idea of adding Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, the Cincinnati Reds have already decided to move him back into the bullpen.
Last year, the fireballer wasn’t given the closer role until halfway through the season, but he still managed to finish third in the National League with 38 saves. He ended the year as one of the best fantasy baseball closers and fantasy owners were content with the role.
The decision is rather odd, not only because of all the attention the team made about him potentially becoming a starter, but also because they brought in reliever Jonathan Broxton in the off-season. Broxton signed a three-year deal with the team for $21 million, but will now end up being one of the most expensive setup men in the majors.
C-note struck out an absurd 122 batters in just 71.2 innings of work. His fastball and changeup have such a dramatic difference in velocity that they are almost impossible for batters to predict. Chapman will be able to rack up strikeouts no matters where he is penciled in, so that is one aspect of his game that will stay the same.
Chapman is one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game. Last year, his fastball averaged 97.7 MPH and was even known to top out at over 100 MPH. His skill set is ideal for a closer, so the move makes more sense than you think.
The only problem with the recent change of Chapman’s position is that millions of fantasy owners have already drafted him to be a starter. Chapman was drafted very early this month and there is no doubt that the move back to the bullpen will frustrate more than a couple fantasy owners.
Chapman will become a top-10 fantasy closer again in 2013, but it would have been interesting to see what he could have done as a starter.