When the Cincinnati Reds signed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, some eyebrows were raised.
One, the Reds weren’t one of the supposed teams that had the means to ink the talented, flame-throwing Cuban. Another was that Chapman provided an interesting debate. In his native Cuba, Chapman served primarily as a starter. The hopes among Reds fans was that he would transition starting into his MLB career.
Chapman being a starter has never happened, but the subject of moving Chapman into the starting rotation is still mentioned every so often. With his success as the Reds closer, those opinions have dwindled, but there are a few that would prefer to see him in the role of starter.
The one part of Chapman’s game that did transition well is his fastball. He holds the record for the fastest recorded pitch at 105.1 MPH. Head to the Reds Hall of Fame and as you depart, you head down a staircase with Chapman’s likeness and those numbers “105.1”.
Well, Chapman has the opportunity to do something no other pitcher has accomplished: finish a season with a fastball velocity in triple-digits. According to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon no pitcher has performed this feat since PitchF/x has been utilized. Sheldon notes that Fangraphs has Chapman’s fastball velocity sitting at 100.3 MPH.
But if you head over to Brooks Baseball, the website shows that Chapman has averaged over 101 MPH with his fourseam. And he’s done that for each and every month of the 2014 season. Here’s their breakdown by month:
Wow. That’s about all you can say.
(Call to Hardball Talk)