Aroldis Chapman Reportedly Defects

Heading up to the draft, one of the main topics of conversation was how much Stephen Strasburg was worth, and how much he’d eventually sign for. Rumors of a $50 million bonus demand were floated, while the consensus seemed to be that he’ll sign for $15 to $20 million, because he lacks the leverage to negotiate with teams besides the Washington Nationals. The big “what if” question was how much a prospect like Strasburg would get if he was a free agent.

We might find out sooner than later, because Aroldis Chapman has reportedly defected from Cuba. R.J. wrote about his WBC start here, where Chapman showed off a legitimate power fastball from the left side. In their scouting report of the top 10 WBC prospects, Baseball America got the following quote from a scout:

“If you are looking for more than that in a pitcher, you’ll be searching your whole life,” an AL scout said. “He was so much fun to watch. If he’s 21 like he’s listed, the sky’s the limit. You’ve got honestly just one or two tweaks that could be made but he could go straight to the top of a big league rotation.”

Unlike with Strasburg, or even Japanese sensation Yu Darvish, Chapman has to be evaluated on his physical tools rather than his performance, but those tools are plenty exciting. It isn’t every day that a 21-year-old LHP with a mid-90s fastball becomes available for all 30 teams to bid on.

Let’s just hope, for the good of baseball, that he doesn’t end up with the Red Sox or Yankees.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.