So, don’t get me wrong, I am a Red Sox fan until the day I die, but I do know when to give credit where credit is due.
My best friend, Ian, is a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. So, due to my loyalty to him, I root for the Reds. No skin off of my back because they are in a completely different league than the Red Sox. But, over the course of learning about the Reds, I have discovered one of the greatest pitchers to play the game, and he does NOT get enough recognition.
His name…Aroldis Chapman.
The relief pitcher from Cuba is known as the Cuban Missile in the clubhouse.
On September 24, 2010, Chapman pitched a 105.1mph fastball to Padres player Tony Gwynn in the eighth inning. That was the fastest pitch ever recorded in the majors, breaking the 104.8 record set by Tigers’ Joel Zumaya in 2006. That night was also one of Chapman’s best night pitching. All 25 of his pitches that night were over 100mph.
The kicker to that story? His first major league appearance was August 31 of that year!
Now, getting into some more interesting stuff…Last month, I read an article by Jayson Stark from ESPN about his case for Chapman for Cy Young. The article was published on August 13, so the stats are a bit out of date, but I will be updating them later. Here is a snip from that article that describes the “ridiculousness” that is Aroldis Chapman.
“• Start with this one: 106 strikeouts, 25 hits. Unless something bizarre happens, this man’s numbers project out to make him the first relief pitcher in history with 110 more strikeouts than hits. Crazy.
• Then there’s this: This fellow is averaging nearly 17 strikeouts per nine innings (16.74, to be exact). How many other pitchers in history have done that? None, of course.
• OK, next up: The batting average of the 216 hitters who have had the misfortune to step into the box against Chapman this year is an insane .127. Want to guess how many pitchers in the live-ball era have proved to be that unhittable in any season of 50 innings or more? Not a one. (The record is .133 against Eric Gagne in his ultra-dominating Cy Young season in 2003.)
• Meanwhile, talk about dominating his league: Chapman’s ERA against the NL this year — in 47 trips to the mound — is (ready for this?) 0.17. That’s 51 2/3 innings, one earned run. NL hitters have batted .099 against him (17-for-172). He has faced 190 hitters in his own league. Just 34 have reached base.
• Then there are all the strikeouts. Do you realize this guy is piling up more than four strikeouts for every hit he allows (4.24, to be precise)? Once again, nobody has ever done that in a year in which he pitched this many innings. Only Gagne in 2003 (3.7) and Billy Wagner in 1999 (3.5) have even approached it.
• Bet you didn’t know that Chapman has more strikeouts than the Opening Day starters for 11 teams … or that he has struck out more hitters than two pitchers who made the All-Star team (Matt Harrison, Wade Miley), as well as Vogelsong … or that he would lead four teams in strikeouts (A’s, Royals, Blue Jays, Rockies).
• Ah, here’s the clincher: I hear lots of people refer to Jered Weaver as the favorite for the American League Cy Young Award. But guess what? Chapman has racked up exactly as many strikeouts this season as Weaver has — in 81 fewer innings.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but that is insane! I mean, last season’s AL Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander, was definitely in beast mode, but even his stats do not even compare to those.
In an update on Chapman, in 66 innings pitched this season, he has 117 strikeouts, 35 saves, and an ERA of .123. The batting average of an opponent is .132 and he only has 30 hits against him. This is Chapman’s best season to date.
I thoroughly believe that he deserves the Cy Young Award this season. Those voters are idiots if they don’t think his stats are good enough. Chapman is a BEAST!