I wrote early in the season that Chapman must be used more often. Nothing since then has changed my position concerning Chapman. I do not see the rhyme or reason behind the way Baker is using him. Apparently, I am not alone.
I have heard John Kruk say that Baker is planning on bringing Aroldis Chapman along slowly and then in the starting rotation. Why? Is he new to baseball?
I have heard Jeff Brantley say that he expects Chapman to be in the starting rotation after the All-Star break. Again, why? What will be more important in July than now? Clearly, they have no better insight than I do.
Next to Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman is the best option the Cintinnati Reds have right now as a starting pitcher. (He’s the best option the Reds have in the bullpen.) No one performed better in that role during Spring Training. Now, I know that there is a major difference between spring training and regular season. I get that. However, given how he has pitched out of the bullpen, there is nothing to suggest that the spring training Chapman was an anomaly.
Aroldis Chapman has been nothing short of incredible. Look at his stats. He has a record of 3-0, allowed 7 hits, 1 run (none earned), 7 base-on-balls and struck out 36 (He is struck out about half of the batters he has faced.) in 20.1 innings pitched. If that doesn’t SCREAM closer or starter, I don’t know what does. He is the most feared pitcher on the staff.
Case in point in the way Baker uses Aroldis Chapman is a game recently against the New York Mets. Chapman came in during the 7th with a one run lead. He allowed 1 run to score (That’s the one for the year.) and blew the save. He finished the inning striking out two with the bases loaded. At the bottom of the 7th, the Reds had their 1-2-3 hitters up. Baker pulled Chapman in favor of Ondrusek. Don’t get me wrong, Ondrusek has had a great season so far, but we are talking about Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban Missile! Ondrusek gave up 5 runs and the game in the 8th.
There is not telling what Aroldis Chapman would have done in the 8th inning, but if it’s me, I’m taking my chances. I’ll send him out there for the next two innings and trust he will continue to mow them down.
Aroldis Chapman simply must be used more often and in a more important role.