Plot the future of Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman

September 03, 2010

Only time will tell

By Dan Connolly

Baltimore Sun

Let's see. Aroldis Chapman will take the baseball world by storm with his 100-plus mph fastball and youthful exuberance. After a bit, he'll stop being the flavor of the month, and his lone concentration will be getting major league hitters out on a consistent basis.

He'll struggle at times doing that and probably overcompensate and overthrow. He'll eventually have arm trouble, elbow or shoulder, because what he is paid to do — throw a ball 100 times every five days with velocity and accuracy — is not a natural act for an arm.

When he recovers from injury, that's when we'll know what the baseball world has in Chapman: Another talented flash in the pan or a lasting commodity that combines natural ability with smarts and conditioning to learn how to pitch and succeed in the big leagues. In baseball, we know, talent only gets you so far.

dconnolly@tribune.com

Could be a stud closer

Dave van Dyck

Chicago Tribune

It has become obvious what the immediate future is for Aroldis Chapman, just because he was purposefully placed on the Reds' roster before Sept. 1: Cut a fast(ball) track through the playoffs.

Having used him two days in a row already, manager Dusty Baker is setting him up to become a postseason phenom out of the bullpen. The future is a little less clear because the Reds spent $30 million for a starter. But with the rotation seemingly filled, Chapman could become the next Billy Wagner, a left-handed closer who breaks speed guns.

With the luxury of time and talent on their side, the Reds don't have to be rushed into a decision, even by next spring. But don't be surprised if he is kept in the bullpen, where 100 mph doesn't wilt by the sixth or seventh inning.

dvandyck@tribune.com

Following Price's path?

Kevin Baxter

Los Angeles Times

How good Aroldis Chapman eventually will become largely depends on how he is eventually used. The Reds say they'll pitch the 22-year-old lefty in relief this fall but are projecting him as a starter. The Rays had a great deal of success following the same formula with their own lefty phenom, David Price, who just turned 25.

The history of Cuban defectors suggests another path, however. Cuban pitchers, used to dominating inferior hitters in their domestic league, traditionally have had trouble making the adjustments necessary to go through a major league lineup two or three times a game. Chapman's electric stuff is well suited to the bullpen. If he stays there, he could become one of the best closers in baseball. If he makes the rotation, he could become another Jose Contreras — serviceable, but hardly a star.

kbaxter@trbune.com

Sky's the limit … for now

Juan C. Rodriguez

Sun Sentinel

Plot the future of Reds' reliever Aroldis Chapman? He of 22 years and two major league appearances?

Let's give the Magic 8-Ball a shake … Will overtake Trevor Hoffman for the all-time saves title en route to Hall of Fame. Hmm. A bit optimistic.

Let's try it again …Will receive wild acclaim until he feels a forearm twinge and ultimately lands on James Andrews' operating table. A bit pessimistic.

Maybe he'll throw seven no-hitters like Nolan Ryan. Maybe he'll end up homeless like J.R. Richard.

The point is it's too early to plot anything with any degree of accuracy. Can't-miss guys miss all the time. A chosen few are great from Day One and enjoy unfettered careers. Where will Chapman fall? How about somewhere in between.

jcrodriguez@tribune.com

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