Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman was photographed arm-in-arm with women adorning lingerie during his recent visit to Boston. While too much should not be made of this (we should really confine our evaluation to the baseball field), this incident does speak to his character. Is this a guy you want to bring in to your club?
More on the player. According to Keith Law at ESPN:
“Chapman has a huge fastball and has been clocked as high as 100 mph in international competition. But he will sit more consistently in the mid-90s in his best starts and in the low 90s in some of his lesser outings. The quality of his secondary stuff is a bigger question; he has thrown a slider that’s sharp and approaches 90 mph, but pitches primarily off his fastball. He has the arm speed required to throw a plus slider, and has also shown a curve, a cutter and a changeup in past outings. There has been some question over whether his fastball-heavy approach is by choice or whether Cuban baseball officials were trying to limit his appeal to MLB clubs by preventing him from showing off his full repertoire; it is, of course, impossible to confirm that theory. Either way, the fastball/slider combination alone marks him as a potential front-line reliever. With his size and ability to hold his velocity deep into games, he offers the ceiling of a No. 1 starter.”
It certainly sounds as if Chapman has the potential to be successful in the major leagues. But how realistic is this? Remember Jose Contreras?
Everyone talks about how Chapman throws 100 MPH, but not about how he is consistently slower. No one talks about the fact that he hasn’t regularly faced major league hitters; no hitters are as good as those in the MLB.
It would be a risky move for any team to throw $40-50 million at a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the majors.