A different take on Aroldis Chapman

Before I get to the meat of today’s post (and thanks to those who sent me some ideas for future content), just a quick note on the new 2009 MLBlogs rankings that are now up for your perusal. In the Pro Blogs category, I’m at No. 28, a drop of four places from a year ago. Evidently, blogging consistently helps with traffic. Go figure. I guess I’ll have to try that so I can move up in the rankings.

I promised in my last post some interesting info on Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban prospect who recently signed with the Reds. At the time of his signing, I wrote a story detailing what some scouts thought of the left-hander. It was, overall, fairly glowing. That’s understandable, considering Chapman is 22 and can crank it up to 100 mph.

But like with just about any player, you’re bound to find a variety of opinions when you talk to scouts. After the story ran, I heard from a scout who recognized the arm strength, but wasn’t so thrilled about the complete package. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to work with when it comes to Chapman, and it’s possible this scout will turn out to be wrong, but it’s just a differing opinion to add to the Chapman file. And if it takes him a little longer to get to the big leagues than some think, or if he struggles a bit at the outset, remember these words:

Fastball up to 95-100 mph. Slider is very inconsistent, below-average in quality. Changeup is well below-average. Mechanically, he often opens up too quickly with his front leg which, in turn, forces him to get around his slider. He doesn’t always find a consistent slot with his release point — high 3/4 to 3/4 — where he gets pretty good late movement. He doesn’t have a great feel for pitching. He is an above-average athlete with the kind of body you like to see in a pitcher. Future as a reliever seems more likely. Has shown a tendency to sulk and quit when the pressure is on.

There you have it. Take it for what it’s worth. But it’s worth noting if for no other reason than to understand that there’s always more than one opinion out there.

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