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Reds sending Aroldis Chapman to winter ball to work as a starter

Oct 6, 2011, 5:42 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

Aroldis Chapman has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since debuting with Cincinnati in August of last season, but the Reds are now sending the flamethrowing left-hander to winter ball in order to build up arm strength to join the rotation next year.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Chapman will stretch out with some instructional league action before heading to Puerto Rico, with general manager Walt Jocketty explaining that “eventually we’ll get him up to five innings.”

Chapman initially started at Triple-A last season, but then shifted to the bullpen in preparation for a call-up to the majors. His upside as a starter is obviously huge, but given his problems consistently throwing strikes in short appearances there’s plenty of doubt about how his control will fare in a 200-inning role.

He’s logged 63 innings in 69 total appearances for the Reds, with a 3.27 ERA,  90/46 K/BB ratio, and .158 opponents’ batting average. Presumably the need to pace himself as a starter will mean many fewer triple-digit radar gun readings for Chapman, but if the Reds think he has a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter it certainly makes sense to give him a shot at age 24.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Oct 6, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    He just needs to ease on the gast a bit. He could learn a bit from Verlander. He’s another triple digit flame-thrower it’s just that he doesn’t feel the need to throw them all the time.

  2. metalhead65 - Oct 6, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    I don’t think it will work but he can’t be any worse than volquez. is there anybody in baseball outside of the reds organazation that thinks that guy is a front line starter? if so please ship a box of baseballs to the reds and you can have him.

    • paperlions - Oct 6, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      In Chapman’s defense, the Reds have done about everything they possibly could have done to retard his development as a pitcher in general and as a starter in particular. When they got him he was very raw….he needed innings and instruction, and he needed them in a setting where winning the game isn’t important, development is….that means time in the minors as a starter….and minors is where the best instructors are in each team’s system. Just atrocious handling by the Reds.

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