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The Reds are going to turn Aroldis Chapman into a reliever

Jun 23, 2010, 2:28 PM EST

The Reds are the latest team that plans on turning a would-be ace into a middle reliever.

At least temporarily, it seems. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer quotes  GM Walt Jocketty sayingWith Volquez
coming on and Bailey not that far away, it’s the best opportunity for
him.”

I seem to beat this drum every other day, but I really don’t like this kind of move.  Chapman is young, he has electric stuff, he’s always started and he’s green.  The only way to turn him into an effective starter is to give him more chances to learn to pace himself, to work on mastering his secondary pitches and to gain experience getting guys out two or three times a game.  To turn him into a one-inning guy would do his development a serious disservice.

This is especially true for the Reds who wouldn’t even be using Chapman as a closer or even a setup guy — they have Arthur Rhodes and Francisco Cordero for that.  No, he’s be pitching in the seventh inning at best. He could even be used as a lefty specialist which would mess with his development even further.

I know the Reds are in the race right now and that they could use a bullpen arm, but they don’t need to screw up their top prospect just to do it. Call David Weathers or something. He wants to pitch in the Reds’ bullpen.

  1. Mark L Smith - Jun 23, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Why not have him as a Kris Medlen-type? Let him pitch the 6th and 7th innings. Dusty likes to ruin young arms, so I’m sure he would do it and often.

  2. ben s - Jun 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Ugh, the only time this has ever worked was with Phil Hughes, and even then it didn’t work with Joba. Bad idea.

  3. ThatGuy - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Johan Santana disagrees with you. He started in the pen in 01-02(with a couple spot starts due to other injuries)

  4. rob - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Jocketty has seen success with this type of move in the past. Dan Haren and Adam Wainwright are prominent examples of this strategy working. It’s something that was pretty standard back in the day too. For instance, Jim Palmer, Fergie Jenkins, and Gaylord Perry pitched out of the bullpen at the start of their careers.

  5. Dan W - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Ben S – That is a semi-ignorant statement. There is a very limited sample size in this day in age of players like that, so you are correct in that regard.
    This method using a player in the pen first used to be the way many pitchers came up. Look back to the game in the mid century – it was very common.
    It is stilled used today and I have no problem with it. If you have a need in the pen, use it to get a future SP some experience.
    Think about it, which is better, getting out AAA hitters, or learning how to get out MLB hitters? I think it is a good move by the pen AS LONG AS the Reds don’t make it a permament move and anoint him a future closer.

  6. Dan W - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Ben S – That is a semi-ignorant statement. There is a very limited sample size in this day in age of players like that, so you are correct in that regard.
    This method using a player in the pen first used to be the way many pitchers came up. Look back to the game in the mid century – it was very common.
    It is stilled used today and I have no problem with it. If you have a need in the pen, use it to get a future SP some experience.
    Think about it, which is better, getting out AAA hitters, or learning how to get out MLB hitters? I think it is a good move by the pen AS LONG AS the Reds don’t make it a permament move and anoint him a future closer.

  7. Dan W - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Ben S – That is a semi-ignorant statement. There is a very limited sample size in this day in age of players like that, so you are correct in that regard.
    This method using a player in the pen first used to be the way many pitchers came up. Look back to the game in the mid century – it was very common.
    It is stilled used today and I have no problem with it. If you have a need in the pen, use it to get a future SP some experience.
    Think about it, which is better, getting out AAA hitters, or learning how to get out MLB hitters? I think it is a good move by the pen AS LONG AS the Reds don’t make it a permament move and anoint him a future closer.

  8. Dan W - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Apologies for the multiple postings – not sure what happened.

  9. Anon - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Santata did start in the pen, and was wasted there. It took about 3 appearances before everyone with half a brain was demanding that he be placed into the rotation.
    This is a mistake. Let the guy start,

  10. CYGNUS X-1 - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    just perfect,you get a guy who could be one of the greats and because he is not prgressing as fast as you want and because of his contract you are making him a reliever and rushing up.yea this is going to work out well for the reds.they should have done what the nationals did with straussberg and started him out in aa and let him dominate and get confidance before promiting him to aaa.panic move by a guy who I thought was supposed to be a genius gm that would turn the reds around the right way.if they were going to send anyone to the pen it should be johnny 5,I mean queto who only goes 5 innings at the most and always gives up that many runs except when he plays the pirates.the reds need an ace that can give you 7-8 innings consistantly with a few complete games tossed in.look for chapman to have arm problems within a year and his carrer to short and a bust.

  11. CYGNUS X-1 - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    just perfect,you get a guy who could be one of the greats and because he is not prgressing as fast as you want and because of his contract you are making him a reliever and rushing up.yea this is going to work out well for the reds.they should have done what the nationals did with straussberg and started him out in aa and let him dominate and get confidance before promiting him to aaa.panic move by a guy who I thought was supposed to be a genius gm that would turn the reds around the right way.if they were going to send anyone to the pen it should be johnny 5,I mean queto who only goes 5 innings at the most and always gives up that many runs except when he plays the pirates.the reds need an ace that can give you 7-8 innings consistantly with a few complete games tossed in.look for chapman to have arm problems within a year and his carrer to short and a bust.

  12. Kung - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Most of the guys who were later successful who started their MLB careers in the bullpen were already a lot more polished than somebody like Chapman. If you already have command of your secondary stuff, then I can see how a bullpen apprenticeship can help, in addition to limiting innings for a young arm.
    However, somebody like Chapman really needs to develop his secondary stuff first before considering him for a bullpen role. This is like the Mets with Jenrry Mejia (sp?). Finally, they’ve admitted he should be starting in the minors to develop his offspeed pitches. The Reds should do this too.
    Of course, if the Reds had Mariano Rivera to teach Chapman a cutter, well, that would be a definite point in favor of bullpen work.

  13. bigtrav425 - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Definitely a bad move! keep the guy as a starter he had good stuff in spring training!

  14. akbled - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    This is really about the only chance he has to help the Reds this year, and its a very slim chance at that. He is far too wild with his command to be of help in the rotation or out of the pen. Now maybe if he can command one pitch decently and he can limit himself to using only two pitches he might, huge might, be ok. He would certainly be best served starting at the minors as he needs a lot of work. There are many pitchers in which this has worked out tremendously for however.

  15. whodeywho - Jun 24, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    David Price turned out alright.

  16. ThatGuy - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    That is not true at all, Santana made played in 45 games his first 2 years, 9 were starts and he didn’t do anything. He supported a 6+ era and a high 4 era in those 2 years and won 3 games. In 2002 he made a bunch more starts due to injuries did fairly well, but was returned to the pen towards the end of the season. Started in the pen again in 2003, and it wasn’t until the all star break that year when injuries forced him back into the rotation and he won 8 of his 11 last starts and never looked back. As I said, he spent the vast majority of 2000-2003 in the pen figuring it out and then became one of the best pitchers of the decade and winning a couple Cy Youngs.

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