On Sunday, 20-year old Aroldis Chapman, who signed a six-year, $30.25-million contract with the Cincinnati Reds, made his first start for Class-AAA Louisville Bats. It was an electrifying debut for one who is sure to become baseball’s next big thing.
Chapman’s fastball hit 101 mph on the radar gun and stayed in the high 90s throughout the game. He gave up no earned runs and allowed five hits (all singles) and one walk in 4 2/3 Innings pitched against the Toledo Mud Hens.
Amazingly, he struck out nine batters and of his 85 pitches, he threw 55 of them for strikes. Over a quarter of his pitches were 98-mph or faster. Wow…
“No debut compares to that at this level,” Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. “As soon as the radar gun hit 100, you could hear the buzz in the ballpark.”
All we can do now is see him and weep…
Back as early as October, we wrote that the Mets would kick the tires on Chapman, but only for appearances sake. Sadly we were right.
It’s not known how much the Mets are really interested in Chapman and it looks like they may only be engaged for appearances sake in my opinion.
The Cuban left-hander, whose defection sparked a bidding war among major league teams that coveted his 102-mph fastball, should have been priority number one for a team whose rotational is questionable at best and whose best pitching prospects are 2-3 years away.
On December 27th I wrote about my frustration regarding the Mets inept and lackadaisical approach to the pitching market and their failure to make an offer to quite possibly the best lefthanded prospect in the game. I wrote,
As the Mets continue signing these risk/reward type players like Kelvim Escobar, Ryota Igarashi, and Clint Evert, all of whom have considerable risk, but came cheap, why haven’t the Mets made a play for what could be the best risk/reward player on the market as well as the best and healthiest starting pitcher still left?
I also laid out a potential game plan for Chapman’s short and long term future for the Mets if we were lucky enough to acquire him and also pointed out that in the grand scheme of things, the Cuban phenom was a bargain compared to Lackey and others.
Chapman has been compared to phenom Stephen Strasburg, last year’s #1 overall pick by the Nationals. That’s a heck of a comparison if you were to ask me, and it could mean the Mets would get themselves a potential ace left-handed starter to replace Johan Santana at the end of his contract. Until then, Chapman could become a viable number two starter that would certainly fill the Mets needs and for a lot less than they would have had to pay Roy Halladay or John Lackey for just one year.
The Mets would eventually sit on their hands once again, and only watch as a low market team like The Cincinnati Reds whisked the young fire-baller away.
At an average of $5 million dollars per year for the next six years, what a bargain… Think about that as you watch Oliver Perez and John Maine try to rebound against the Rockies and Cardinals at a combined $16 million in salary this season.
You want to talk about calling out Jerry Manuel for admitting his was ”unprepared” for the Nationals? Well then you better add Omar Minaya into the fire for being “unprepared” for dealing with the pitching market this past offseason.