Introducing Aroldis Chapman

Perhaps it was only fitting that Daisuke Matsuzaka opposed team Cuba on Sunday. The nearly mythical Aroldis Chapman took the hill for Cuba facing a similar situation to that of Matsuzaka in the inaugural World Baseball Classic; the glorious unknown with a hype machine all to his own. Cuba’s Loch Ness monster displayed his excellent velocity and lack of control through 44 pitches.

Chapman’s debut on American soil was shortened by a patient lineup, forcing three walks in only two and a third innings. The 21-year-old left-hander will be remembered for his velocity readings as much as anything since he threw more than 70% fastballs and recorded an average velocity of 93 miles per hour. On his 12th pitch of the afternoon Chapman hit triple digits with a staggering 100.2 miles per hour. As the game’s announcers noted – in between giving us updates on Chapman’s LiveJournal mood – Chapman has apparently hit 102 miles per hour in Cuban competition.

If you’re wondering why I’m not discussing Chapman’s off-speed stuff much, that’s because he didn’t throw much of it it. Chapman’s slider seems to have potential with excellent bend. It’s simply a matter of harnessing control and command of the pitch. Something that may or may not happen. Below you’ll see a movement chart with each of Gameday’s classified pitches listed. I’m sure you’ll notice his “cutter” looks a lot like his slider, same with his “curve”, meaning there’s likely an error in classification.

A 21-year-old left-hander with an efficient pickoff move, long limbs, and probably not the best of instruction, Chapman certainly has some room to grow. Whether we ever see him in the American major leagues or not is unknown, but he’s certainly someone to watch in international competition.

That might be the best part about the WBC.

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16 Responses to “Introducing Aroldis Chapman”

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  1. Jason T says:

    I was impressed with his stuff, if not his attitude. He was barely missing on many of the pitches that were called balls and he was obviously getting frustrated.

    My wife and I wondered if, in Cuba, he gets those borderline calls. Like how Maddux in his hayday would get the ones barely on the black.

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  2. Johnny_Blaze says:

    Any idea what the chances are of this guy eventually ending up in the majors?

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    • They would increase if he “gets lost” in San Diego.

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    • Melanie says:

      All i wanted to know was why do people like playing baseball…i know it is fun but doing it all the time gets really boring…doenst it??? All you baseball players dont have free time because you are always on tour or you are playing baseball….traveling and you never get to see yuor family and friends because YOU ARE ALWAYS PLAYING STUPID BASEBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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  3. JCP says:

    I don’t think the angle of Cuban player defection has gotten enough attention in the WBC; to me, it’s the most interesting story out there in this tournament.

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  4. cavegravedave says:

    Interesting article, and good read.

    I did have a problem with the graph, however. I noticed this more and more lately, reading different baseball blogs with a focus on statistics.

    It seems the authors assume more than they should about their reader’s “math” levels, and throw out graphs that are sometimes a little difficult to understand.

    People are not going to “adopt” or be receptive to information they have to do homework to understand.

    This goes for Tango, and all of the other fine saber analysts: Please put more effort into walking us mathematically challenged folk through every somewhat unknown number, or graph that’s posted.


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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Honestly, this just isn’t feasible. We can’t write every article to appeal to the people who have never read the site before, because then the 99.9% of the readers who have already read the explanation will get bored.

      If people aren’t willing to do homework to understand the information, then there’s nothing we can really do about it. Learning is a two way street – we offer invitations to join us on a fun road of discovery, but we’re not going to push people in wheelchairs.

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      • cavegravedave says:

        Dave, you’re a fabulous writer, and baseball analyst. I appreciate a lot of the work you do.

        Personally, as somebody well studied in the field of marketing, one of the most valuable assets is having a loyal enough reader base to make suggestions.

        There’s a lot of value in listening to us lesser folk (you certainly have a way of making your readers feel beneath you, which is another problem/suggestion to mention for another time). I understand the graphs, and most of the math. I do, however, see a lot of untapped potential. And much of that potential is limited because of a lack of accessibility.

        You can satisfy the hardcores (like me), and still handhold the guy who might not have the same level of exposure.

        There’s a lot of great work being done in the sabermetric community, but we’re lacking somebody who excels at making this stuff 100000% more accessible.

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  5. jonathan says:

    he just defteced so expect him to sign with the yankees

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  6. jmw says:

    Red Sox. Yankees are seriously tapped.

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    • YankUVryMuch says:

      Tapped?!? If you mean financially then you must be seriously deficient in several vitamins and minerals. Hopefully he grew up a Yanks fan like, Hernandez and Contreras…as many Cuban children do, and it won’t be long until he signed.

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  7. megamets says:

    Nice blog. I’ll definitely be back.

    What do you think Chapman will sign for, and what team do you think is the most desperate? I know that Philadelphia is desperate for starting pitching but is wincing at the idea of parting with their top pitching prospects. It looks like a perfect fit which makes me sick, I’m a Mets fan. Although we are just as desperate for a starter the focus is clearly on offense, and most analysts say we ain’t getting anybody, pitcher or hitter.

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  8. aroldis c. says:

    Well, it look like I play for the Red. I never like the Yankee anyway.

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