Projecting Chapman Results

Last Monday, I called for your expectations for Reds top prospect Aroldis Chapman this season. The Cuban southpaw was pitching on the MLB Network, and I thought it would be a nice opportunity for some of us that hadn’t seen him throw to do a little tele-scouting. As luck would have it, I jinxed Chapman, whose velocity fell hard in his second inning of work — a product of a sore back he may have withheld from the team.

So, rather than report the results on another Chapman throw day, I’ve opted to save the lefty from my jinxes. He recovered quickly enough to work an inning from the bullpen on Sunday, reportedly touching 97 mph with his fastball. His slider, which looked well behind his change-up last week, was apparently back to its nasty former self.

However, this setback will probably be enough to move Chapman’s opening day assignment to the minor leagues. While I suspect this extra week of information might have altered your expectations a bit, we did keep the polls open through Sunday night. The turnout was very good, I thought: 504 entries that filled out the first four questions.

The fifth question, which I borrowed from Tango at the Book Blog, was a bit of a gaffe on my part. I didn’t explain the question well, and to top it off, didn’t give enough options in the poll. The results were enough to tell me the question should be tossed from the survey.

What we’re still left with, however, are your forecasts for his playing time and performance level this season. Here are the results in the four components of FIP:


InnPit    K/9    BB/9    HR/9
116.55   8.36    3.88    1.11

Interesting to note is that eight people had the nearest options in the poll (120, 8.5, 4, 1.1) as their answer, making it one of the most popular responses in our survey.

In converting those peripheral statistics into raw numbers, and then calculating FIP (using just an unadjusted +3.2), we get a Fan Projection of 4.36 FIP for Aroldis Chapman in 2010. This would obviously be fantastic for a rookie of Chapman’s pedigree in Cincinnati’s park, but I don’t think it’s out of the question.

We’ll certainly be checking in on Chapman’s progress throughout this season, as he promises to provide a great test for the wisdom of crowds approach to projection.




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