The Reds have agreed to a three-year extension with reliever Jonathan Broxton, presumably to fill their closer role and finally thrust the Cuban hurler Arolids Chapman into the rotation — as was their intention this year until Ryan Madson tore his pitching elbow.
This move will blow out Chapman’s arm and bring his career to a Greg Oden-like halt. It will break a 97-win team from this year and turn Reds clubhouse to side-choosing – Do we start him? Do we put him in the bullpen?
I don’t understand the near unanimous mindset among professional baseball teams that starting pitching is exponentially more important than a quality middle reliever.
Remember Joba Chamberlain?
Chapman can throw the ball up to 106 miles an hour, harder than any human on Earth. As a side note, I think throwing a ball that hard in any volume will blow out an arm, but why have him throw upwards of 200 innings a year when his previous high is 71.2?
Chapman has the hotts for heat. He will try to throw the ball 107. If you put him in the rotation, he will have to sacrifice some mph, something I don’t think he really wants to do.
Don’t underestimate that tattoo. You don’t put something on your body if it doesn’t have substance to who are as a being. If he gets an adrenaline rush by throwing the ball hard, then cater to it.
Keep him in the bullpen. Keep his innings important. Keep his adrenaline pumping. Someone who can throw that hard is already walking on eggshells – the human arm simply cannot keep that pace up.
In 2007, Yankees pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain was brought up to a world of success. A starting pitcher his entire pre-MLB career, Chamberlain and his 98 mph fastball threw to an unimaginable 0.38 ERA in 24 relief innings for the Yankees down the stretch.
A year later, the Yankees forced him into the rotation, and he transformed into a mediocre pitcher. He missed all of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery, his fastball finally hit 94 mph this year, and New York still holds onto unrealistic expectations we’ll somehow see glimmers of 2007 at some point in his career.
Starting pitchers used to always throw complete games. As we learned the dangers of that, we slowly started to limit pitcher’s outings (Here are the numbers that back it up) to the point where today, six innings or 100 pitches is a “quality” outing.
With relief pitching as important today as ever, team’s should start to emphasize the importance of not just a closer, but a seventh and eighth inning pitcher.
In the playoffs, you need three good starters plus a solid bullpen. Give your offense the best chance to score late, knowing Chapman will shut down the team in the eighth inning.
Cincinnati, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Understand the limits of the human body. By forcing Chapman into the rotation, you genetically alter a pitcher who belongs in the bullpen.
Keep that fastball at 105. Keep those innings down. Keep those wins coming. The playoff wins will follow.