Remember a time when there was a lot of hype surrounding a Cuban defector named Aroldis Chapman? When Chapman was reportedly being pursued by the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and a handful of other MLB teams, fans of those teams were filled with immense hope and joined in on the hype. To everyone’s surprise, Chapman signed with the Cincinnati Reds and has not been as highly talked about since then. Chapman’s performance thus far in the 2012 season should revive the hype that once surrounded him.
At present time, Chapman is owned in 84% of Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues, and I expect that number to rise soon. I am one of his owners, as I drafted him in every league I participated in. Although the Reds signed Ryan Madson to be their closer, I drafted Chapman with the hope that he may be in the starting rotation and become a 200-strikeout pitcher. In the possible event that he never joins the rotation, I was still confident in his ability to register a high strikeout total. With Chapman apparently being the new closer – for now – with the Reds, his fantasy value has nowhere to go but up.
At present time, Chapman has a 0.00 ERA this season, with the lone run against him being unearned. In 22.1 innings, Chapman has 39 strikeouts, which amounts to a 15.72 K/9 rate. Chapman has walked seven and surrendered seven hits (0.63 WHIP). As dominating as Chapman has been, he did pitch his way out of several jams this season. Among all pitchers with 20 or more innings pitched, Chapman’s .093 AVG against ranks second only to the Oakland Athletics’ Ryan Cook (.060 AVG against).
After the strong start to his 2012 season, Chapman’s career numbers now sport a 2.42 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 85.2 innings (13.55 K/9 rate). As he continues to develop his changeup and his slider, he can conceivably be a much-improved pitcher in the future! Fantasy managers may have some recent concerns over Chapman, as he is reportedly being sued a large sum of money and was reportedly arrested for driving with a suspended license; however, if Chapman stays on the right path and does not do anything to jeopardize his career, he can become one of the more special pitchers in the game today (whether a starter or a reliever).
If you are in need of saves and/or strikeouts, you should add Chapman immediately in your leagues. Chapman is currently owned in 84% of Yahoo leagues and that number will continue to rise. If Chapman moves away from the bullpen and into the rotation at some point this season, you may have added a potential ace for free! Those of you participating in keeper leagues should add him without hesitation if he is available on the waiver wire. Regardless of whether or not you have any long-term plans for Chapman, somebody else may value him greatly in a keeper league. As Chapman continues to grow as a pitcher, so will his potential trade value, especially in the keeper leagues.