Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Keith Law: Chapman should be starting

Chapman has been nothing short of outstanding so far in '12

Why isn't Aroldis Chapman in the starting rotation? It's been a hotly-debated question amongst the Reds faithful this spring. And one expert in particular thinks the team could benefit more by having The Cuban Missile pitch every five days. In his latest column, ESPN.com's Keith Law highlights six relievers who should be starting for their respective clubs. Chapman is one of them...

Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
It's great that Chapman has punched out 15 of 27 batters faced this season, but he was a lifelong starter in Cuba and has the off-speed pitches to handle starting in the U.S. if he was just given the chance. His fastball might only sit at 93-94 mph as a starter, but it would likely cause less stress on his arm if he's not airing it out on every pitch, and he has the slider to miss plenty of bats. Arms like this are often forced to the bullpen by injury or lack of command, but Chapman hasn't been hurt (beyond shoulder soreness in November that disappeared with rest) and has never been given the opportunity to refine his command in longer outings. The Reds owe it to themselves to try him as a starter.

Law joins a growing crowd who shares the sentiment of having Chapman start rather than relieve. While there's no timetable to when that may indeed happen, it's becoming harder and harder to keep the flamethrower in the 'pen.

The left-hander boasts a 2-0 record and spotless 0.00 ERA in five appearances (8 IP) so far during the regular season. This coming on the heels of a stellar spring in which he tallied a 2-0 mark, 2.12 ERA and 18 Ks in five outings (17 IP).

You can read the ESPN Insider piece in its entirety here.

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