Watching Aroldis Chapman

Chapman made his third appearance of the season today versus the Saint Louis Cardinals who have had a disappointing season in terms of Cardinal standards.  But I don’t want to hear any complaining Cards fans, we’ve been through worse.  It’s like the guy who was just put into prison complaining about being there to the guys who are lifers.  They’ve got no pity for the noobies.

So Chapman showed a slider on the second pitch of his outing.  This is surprising to me as you would expect him to stay ahead with his fastball and not show anything off speed until he needed it, especially to Aaron Miles.  And it wasn’t a good pitch either so Cardinals hitters can start to get an idea of whether or not to eliminate that pitch from their swing selection.

Aroldis gets out on top of his front leg fairly well, however he seems to lean backwards with his top half as he drives to the plate.  This isn’t a bad thing if it doesn’t effect his balance, but it seems that balance has been an issue according to Ken Rosenthal.  Once Aroldis gets this under control, he will be an even more electric pitcher.  You can tell they’ve worked to slow down Chapman early in his delivery as it’s very mechanical early, but then he explodes very well.  Aroldis just has the balance issue.

Chapman walked Jon Jay the LHH on four pitches.  This is not something you want to see a LHP do ever.  And especially not in front of Albert Pujols.  But Albert does the Billy Butler and grounds into a double play.  Pujols has been showing a little Mike Aviles bail action lately, is this the effects of Mark McGwire the hitting coach?

Chapman didn’t knock my socks off in his first road outing.  There is great velocity to be sure, and a little bit of arm side run.  But he does not yet demonstrate the great control he will need for the future with no secondary pitch today.   Once he gets his balance issues taken care of, he will be a force.  A few tweaks, better off speed,  and next year you may find yourself asking  Stephen who?

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