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Aroldis Chapman still struggling despite move to Double-A

Jun 11, 2011, 11:42 AM EDT

aroldis chapman Getty Images

It’s time to check in again on Aroldis Chapman, who has been working to refine his command in the minor leagues for the past three weeks.

From Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer comes word that the 23-year-old left-hander allowed two earned runs in less than two innings Thursday in his first relief appearance since getting sent from Triple-A Louisville to Double-A Carolina.

Chapman tallied three strikeouts and threw heat as usual, but he walked two and surrendered two hits while throwing just 17 of his 37 pitches for strikes.

The Reds were hoping that Chapman would be ready to return to the back end of their bullpen after just four outings at Carolina, but he’s off to a rough start and could spend much longer at the Double-A level.

The Cuban-born Chapman yielded nine hits and seven earned runs in three appearances at Triple-A Louisville before the Reds decided to bump him down a rung last week in an effort to rebuild his confidence against lesser competition. He had a 6.92 ERA and 15/20 K/BB ratio this season in 13 major league innings.

What’s important to keep in mind here is that Chapman is not some cost-effective young pitcher. He signed a six-year, $30.25 million major league contract in January 2010 that included a fat $16.25 million signing bonus. The Reds have to get him right soon or risk blowing a major financial investment.

  1. goldensombrero3000 - Jun 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    When he pitches from the stretch it looks so uncomfortable. There has to be some serious mechanical issues going on.

  2. raysfan1 - Jun 11, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    I think they ought to try him out as a starter to see if he can get his head right and start throwing strikes that way.

    It’d be a shame if he became Rick Ankiel II.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 11, 2011 at 3:08 PM

      Can he hit?

  3. writtenbyross - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    I seem to be alone in connecting this with the ESPN the Magazine article from late winter/early spring that talked about how Chapman loves modeling but plays baseball because he’s good at it and it got him out of Cuba. He doesn’t love baseball, his head isn’t in the game.

  4. metalhead65 - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    just a case of the reds not knowing what to do with a top prospect. they were in such a hurry to get a return on their investment they rushed him up last year. I admit I was excited as every reds fan was seeing him wing it over a 100mph almost every pitch. but they should have known by the amount of walks he was giving in triple A he was not ready. and then to switch him from starter to a role he had never done before? it worked out great last year but players have figured him out and know if they are patient he will walk them or throw a fastball down the pipe. should have started him at this level or lower last year untill he got command of his stuff now that has been demoted he has no confidence and can’t get these guys out. way to screw up your investment guys. but then again this is the same team that thought volquez was going to be a staff ace and traded a mvp player for him.

  5. paperlions - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Yeah, I would think the best strategy for handling a Cuban defector that is socially withdrawn and untrusting of authority is to move him from team to team every couple of weeks so that he constantly finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings. That should really help his mental/emotional state, keep him from developing any kind of relationships, enhance his feeling of isolation, and totally completely let him focus on baseball.

    They couldn’t have possibly screwed up his handling from personal or baseball perspectives any more than they have.

    • metalhead65 - Jun 11, 2011 at 10:07 PM

      I am pretty sure judging by the number of cars he has he has adapted pretty well to the culture here. his problem was they rushed him from the time they signed him. there was no reason not to start him in the low minors so he could get used to his surroundings and playing the game the American way. he probably would have gained allot more confidence had he started there and dominated for a few games before moving up a level like most top prospects do. instead they put him in triple A and then rushed him to cincy even though he had not demonstrated any command of his stuff in the limited time he spent in the could they possibly think he could just make the switch to reliever then go back to being a starter in a couple of years which they said was the plan. now he is messed up mechanically and mentally.hope he gets it together but they should leave him down there untill he demonstrates he can control his stuff.

  6. desde333 - Jun 11, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Chapman is too far the best pitcher in Cincinnati. He only needs respect. He don’t says nothing but
    he is starter and only starter, while he will continue the boicot, the strike. Chapman needs go Yankees. Maybe the cuban government paid for him don’t shines in MLB.

    • louderthanwords1 - Jun 12, 2011 at 8:06 AM

      This is the worst constructed comment on here. I feel a little bit dumber for reading it and wasting my time.

  7. drmonkeyarmy - Jun 11, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    I think the enormous amount of sunflower seeds that he chews like a horse throw his delivery off.

    • contraryguy - Jun 12, 2011 at 12:26 AM

      well now come on… say you’re from Cuba, and you work at a place where there’s an unlimited supply of snacks? You’re gonna get your fill.

      I’ve only seen him live once, last year when he was in AAA, pitching as a starter. His heat lasted for the first two innings, then was just about gone by the 5th. At the end of each inning, shuffled to the dugout slower than any player I’ve ever seen. A little coaching might go a long way, but maybe this guy isn’t listening.

  8. desde333 - Jun 12, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Too many people don’t knows how gangster is the cuban government. Too many people don’t knows
    how long are the cuban govervment tentacles.

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