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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Aroldis Chapman Needs to Be the Reds Closer

Aroldis Chapman is the most dominating closer in baseball, but entering Spring Training the Cincinnati Reds wanted to try him as a starter.  With three weeks left in Spring Training, the Reds have not made a decision, but Aroldis Chapman has.  He wants to be the closer.  

The left-handed 25-year-old Cuban Missile, has the most electric arm in baseball, with his high strike outs per nine innings ratio and high whiff rates.  

Last season was Chapman's first season as the Reds closer, and he was an instant success.  He appeared in 68 games and went 5-5 with 38 saves and an ERA of 1.51.  His most impressive stat was his 122 strikeouts in 71.2 innings, which translates to an overwhelming 15.32 strikeouts per nine innings.  

Putting Chapman as a starter would be a huge mistake because he has been so dominant coming out of the 'pen.  The main reason he has been so good is because of his electric fastball, that has been clocked over 100 mph.  Besides throwing a fastball, he also throws a slider.  Both pitches have extraordinarily high whiff rates of 33% for the fastball and 58% for the slider, but to be a successful starter, you have to be able to throw at least three pitches.  The two pitches he throws are great, but not enough for him to be a successful starter.  

The Reds should not put Chapman as a starter because it would weaken their entire pitching staff.  Aroldis Chapman has been a relief pitcher over his entire three-year career, and has proven to be successful.  If it is not broken, do not fix it.  

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