Cincinnati Reds‘ flame throwing left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman will no doubt play in the 2014 MLB All-Star Game. Even given that he missed the first 35 games of the season, NL skipper Mike Matheny would be foolish to leave him twiddling his thumbs in The Queen City.
Chapman’s 16 innings pitched is less than half that of the National League’s top two leaders in saves. As of June 17, Milwaukee Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez leads the NL in saves with 21, while St. Louis Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal is tied for second with 20 saves. By contrast, Chapman is currently tied at No. 12 in the league. With only 11 saves he trails 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins of the Colorado Rockies by three.
Before Bud Selig decided to ruin the All-Star Game in 2003 by allowing the winning league to host the World Series, Chapman’s spot would likely have gone to a reliever who had not missed such a significant portion of the first-half.
It’s not like “The Cuban Missile” was playing hooky. The dude was smacked by a line drive and broke his head! More specifically, the portion of his skull above the left eye socket. There was only one way to heal the broken bones and guarantee a return to the mound — plate-in-the-head surgery.
His rapid recovery amazed all but one person; that person’s name is Aroldis Chapman.
There is just a bit more than three weeks before the All-Star rosters are announced. Chapman is on a pace to have around 20 less innings pitched than anyone else who makes either the AL or the NL squad. Will it matter? It’s unlikely.