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Arolids Chapman looks good on his first day of camp

Feb 19, 2010, 9:28 AM EDT

One of the things I’m most eager to see this spring is how Aroldis Chapman does. He’s such an unknown compared to everyone else. He’s been hyped to the nth degree. Is the hype justified? If so, he could prove to be a real difference maker, helping turn a Reds team that currently qualifies, competitively speaking, as “interesting” into one that is genuinely “frisky.”

We won’t have a clear take on Champan’s progress for a while of course, but yesterday he made his debut in Reds camp and things went well

The ball seemed to snap in Hernandez’s glove as he shouted instructions and encouragement in Spanish. Watching their
$30 million investment pitch — GM Walt Jocketty, assistant GM Bob
Miller, scout Jerry Walker, manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach
Bryan Price. Tony Fossas, the Class A Dayton pitching coach and Cuban
native, translated coaching instructions from behind the mound . . . “Very impressive,” Jocketty said. “I’d like to see him when a hitter
gets in there. He showed good command. Everything was right around the
strike zone. I watched him do his fielding drills over there and that
was pretty good.”

Maybe the coolest thing about this is the Tony Fossas sighting.  He’s the ultimate survivor, isn’t he? He wisely or luckily signed with the Cardinals just before they hired Tony La Russa, whose thing for situational lefties likely helped extend his career into his 40s. He takes a job with the Reds just before they sign the most highly-touted Cuban prospect in history, his Cuban heritage likely buying him a little more job security.

When the nukes start flying, I’m going to be wherever Tony Fossas is, because that dude will no doubt be in the right place. 

  1. ditmars1929 - Feb 19, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    Chapman is doomed. Being Cuban, there’s no way he’s in his early twenties, as he states, and with Baker for a manager, his 30-something year old arm is going to fall off.

  2. willmose - Feb 19, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    This just in. Sources say that Chapman is the best shape of his life.

  3. Phil - Feb 19, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    The Reds are beginning to look like they might actually field a good team in the early part of the next decade. My biggest fear is that the Reds will hang around the edge of contention in 2010 just long enough for management to rush Aroldis to the big club and blow out either his arm or confidence just to secure the right to lose to the Phillies in the first round of the playoffs.

  4. MontanaRedsfan - Feb 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    I don’t know, but I suspect that pitching for the Cuban National team has prepared Chapman very well for the majors. It is not like he is some kid just entering his professional career at the Rookie League level. His experience in Cuba has to be as helpful as a few years in a minor league system or a college career. I hope his arm is strong, and he is physically mature enough to handle the innings. If not, I trust the Reds will be patient.

  5. Phil - Feb 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    Chapman needs to learn to control his off-speed stuff and develop a good change-up. That takes some time. Even if he’s not as young as he says he is, he’s still raw. If it was the general consensus that pitching in the Cuban leagues was enough experience to springboard to the majors, the Reds wouldn’t have him. The fact that he’s a high risk/high reward type allowed the Reds to bid high and win.
    If not, I trust the Reds will be patient.
    You mean like they were with Homer Bailey? You have a lot more faith in the Three Stooges in our front office than I do.

  6. Old Gator - Feb 19, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Hell, in an outfit like that even I would look good. All I’d need to add is a three-pointed eyeball hat.

  7. ecp - Feb 19, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    It’s a Reds writer. A Reds website. And Reds officials talking. What are they going to say, “We aren’t thrilled with how Chapman looked today, hope we didn’t waste our money7?”

  8. saeco coffee maker - Feb 20, 2010 at 7:38 AM

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