Aroldis Chapman(notes) made his Triple-A debut for the Louisville Bats on Sunday, and he didn't disappoint. Or rather, his arsenal of pitches didn't disappoint. Chapman's fielding was another story. But let's begin with the more impressive details…
In 4.2 innings of work, Chapman struck out nine batters, allowing just five hits (all singles), one run (unearned), and one walk (the next-to-last hitter he faced). He hit 101 mph on the radar gun in the first inning, then 100 mph in the second and third. The left-hander threw 85 pitches, 55 of which were strikes. The sliders he threw on Sunday should not be legal. You'll find the box score right here, and video here via MLB.com.
Chapman exited the game with two outs in the fifth, leading the Toledo Mud Hens 2-1, only one out away from qualifying for a win. And that brings us to his day's least impressive moment…
With the bases loaded (on an error, an infield single and a walk) Chapman induced a harmless grounder to first baseman Daniel Dorn. That would have ended the inning, were it not for the fact that Chapman neglected to cover first base. Thus the Mud Hens had their fourth infield hit of the game and their first run. It was an absentminded moment in an otherwise stellar performance. Chapman was relieved by Enerio Del Rosario, who finally extracted the Bats from the bases-packed jam.
On balance, Chapman's debut was excellent. His defensive gaffe is obviously not the sort of thing that should ever happen to a pitcher with a $30 million contract (or a contract of any size). Those mistakes can't follow him to the majors, whenever he arrives. If he can bring Sunday's stuff with him to every start, we'll see him in Cincinnati relatively soon.
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