Aroldis Chapman: How Much Wiggle-Room Will The Reds Give Him in 2013?


Feb 16, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) poses for a photo during photo day at the Reds Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY SportsWith Aroldis Chapman moving to the rotation this season, it makes one wonder how much ‘wiggle room’ the Reds’ Muckety Mucks will give him. They have spent some pretty decent money (in Reds’ terms) on Jonathan Broxton to close the show, he would be too expensive as a setup guy.

If, God forbid, Chapman would have several terrible starts to begin the season, would the tent fold and Mike Leake be sent to the rotation? If so, that would probably send Chappy scurrying to the bullpen, in a shell-shocked frame of mind.

If he starts out giving five or six average innings and keep the Reds in the game, everyone will surely take that as a sign of success. Good on ya Walt! Or how about if Broxton has a bad start and blows more saves than he converts? Would that necessitate change?

In my humble opinion, chances are better for Broxton to implode than Chapman. I was not totally impressed with his performance in the short time he was in Cincinnati last season. I thought it was pretty poor so I did some journalistic investigating. Out of all current relief pitchers, he is 20th in saves with 111. I did a check on all current relievers with 100 or more saves and he leads only one pitcher in converted save percentage. His is 74 percent which on this list puts him at No. 22. The last on this list is Octavia Dotel at 69 percent.

What this list is telling me is that Broxton has blown 39 saves out of 150 chances. That is just not good. Ex-Red closer Francisco Cordero, who happens to be No. 2 on the career closer board for active pitchers, has a career mark of 81 percent and he had me sent to a halfway house for addiction to Maalox.

In 137 games Chapman has yet to start a ball game. That is kind of unnerving. I recall that when he was first being used in the bullpen, Dusty Baker would have him start off an inning instead of coming in the middle of someone else’s distress.

Chapman was the most effective starter on the staff in Arizona in 2012. He appeared to be all set for a spot on the rotation until Ryan Madson went down. After Sean Marshall showed why he is one of the best setup men in the league, and only a so-so closer, Chapman became arguably the best closer in the National League.

He has the potential of being one of the best starters in the National League, even perhaps a CYA winner, he has a remarkable upside and only time will tell what happens.

Back to the original question, how short is the leash with which he will work this season?