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Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman
Chapman pitching for the Reds in 2011
Cincinnati Reds – No. 54
Relief pitcher
Born: (1988-02-28) February 28, 1988
Holguín Province, Cuba
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
August 31, 2010 for the Cincinnati Reds
Career statistics
(through 2014 season)
Win–loss record 15–16
Earned run average 2.32
Strikeouts 430
Saves 113
Career highlights and awards
Aroldis Chapman
Medal record
Men's Baseball
Competitor for  Cuba
Pan American Games
Gold 2007 Rio de Janeiro Team
Baseball World Cup
Silver 2007 Taipei Team

Albertín Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz (born February 28, 1988[1]) is a Cuban professional baseball player who is nicknamed the Cuban Missile or the Cuban Flame Thrower. A pitcher, Chapman plays Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cincinnati Reds. He has also played for Holguín in the Cuban National Series. Chapman bats and throws left-handed. He is listed at 6'4" (193 cm) tall and weighing 200 pounds (91 kg).

Chapman pitched for Holguín domestically and internationally for the Cuban national baseball team. He defected from Cuba in 2009 and signed a contract with the Reds in 2010. Chapman made his MLB debut that season. He won the MLB Delivery Man of the Month Award as the best relief pitcher for July 2012, and has been named to three straight National League All-Star teams from 2012 to 2014.

He holds the record for the fastest recorded pitch speed in MLB history at 105 MPH,[2] and also reached 106 mph (173.3 km/h) in another game, although this speed is disputed.[3]

On July 11, 2014 he broke the record, previously held by Bruce Sutter, for the most consecutive relief appearances with a strikeout, having struck out at least one batter in 40 consecutive appearances. Chapman's streak began on August 21, 2013,[4] and continued through August 13, 2014 when it reached 49 consecutive games.


  • Early life 1
  • Cuban career 2
  • American career 3
    • Defection 3.1
    • Cincinnati Reds 3.2
      • 2010 season 3.2.1
      • 2011 season 3.2.2
      • 2012 season 3.2.3
      • 2013 season 3.2.4
      • 2014 season 3.2.5
  • Pitching style 4
    • Repertoire 4.1
    • Speed records 4.2
    • Mechanics 4.3
  • Personal life 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Chapman was raised in Cayo Mambí, a small town in Holguín Province. He lived in a three-room house with his parents and two sisters. His father, a boxing trainer, taught Aroldis to box.[5]

A friend of Chapman invited him to join a local baseball team at the age of 15. He began playing as a first baseman until the coach noticed that Chapman could throw well enough to become a pitcher, which Chapman began in 2003.[5]

Cuban career

Chapman joined the Holguín Sabuesos of the Cuban National Series in 2006.[5] In 32723 career innings, Chapman compiled a 24–19 win–loss record, a 3.74 earned run average (ERA), and 365 strikeouts. He was used mainly as a starting pitcher, although he made 11 relief appearances in the 2007 season.[6]

Chapman was part of the Cuban national team at the 2007 Pan American Games and the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

American career


After a failed attempt to defect in the spring of 2008, Chapman was brought to Havana to meet with Cuban President Raúl Castro who gave him a conditional reprieve, suspending him for the remainder of the National Series season and also keeping him off Cuba's national team for the 2008 Summer Olympics but allowing him to return to the National Series and play in the WBC in 2009.[7]

Chapman successfully defected from Cuba while in Rotterdam, Netherlands where the Cuban national team was participating in the World Port Tournament on July 1, 2009; Chapman walked out the front door of the team hotel and entered into an automobile driven by an acquaintance.[7][8] Gerardo Concepción defected from the Cuban national team in the same tournament.[9] Chapman eventually established residency in Andorra[10] and petitioned the MLB to be granted free agent status.[11]

Cincinnati Reds

Chapman throwing a pitch in spring training 2010

On January 10, 2010, Chapman agreed to a long-term contract with the Cincinnati Reds.[12] The Reds announced that they had signed Chapman to a six-year contract, worth $30.25 million according to MLB sources.[13] The Associated Press reported that the bonus totals $16.25 million, paid annually over 11 years, with an additional bonus if he became eligible for salary arbitration in 2012 or 2013.[14]

2010 season

Chapman began the 2010 season assigned to the Triple-A Louisville Bats,[15] and made his professional debut with the Louisville Bats on Sunday, April 11, in Toledo against the Mud Hens, where he pitched 4 23 innings, giving up 1 unearned run, while striking out 9.[16] Chapman made 13 starts with Louisville, pitching to a 4.11 ERA, and pitched to a 2.40 ERA after the team used him as a relief pitcher.[5]

Chapman made his Major League debut August 31, 2010, in the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers; his first pitch was clocked at 98 miles per hour (158 km/h) as a called strike (which was promptly tossed to the dugout by catcher Ryan Hanigan, to be saved). In nine pitches he retired the side.[17][18] He recorded his first Major League win on September 1 after pitching an inning of relief against the Brewers.[19] Aroldis Chapman threw the fastest pitch, recognized by MLB and not somebody's recollection, on September 25, 2010 at Petco Park in San Diego, California . It was clocked at 105.1 miles per hour to Tony Gwynn, Jr. in the eighth inning. [20]

In Game 2 of the 2010 NLDS vs the Philadelphia Phillies, Chapman allowed 3 runs (all unearned) due to miscues of the outfielders. Chapman would get his first career postseason loss and the Reds would lose the division series to the Phillies in 3 games.

2011 season

Chapman served solely as a relief pitcher in 2011, appearing in 54 regular season games and finishing the season with a 3.60 ERA. He also struck out 71 batters in just 50.0 innings of work that season.

2012 season

Chapman was due to be introduced as a starter for the 2012 season, but preseason injuries to closer Ryan Madson and middle relievers Bill Bray and Nick Masset led manager Dusty Baker to put Chapman in the setup role.[21] Interim closer Sean Marshall struggled early in the season, and Chapman was given the closer role in late May.[22]

On July 1, 2012 Chapman was named to his first All-Star Game.[23] Chapman won the MLB Delivery Man of the Month Award for July 2012, in which he recorded 13 saves while not allowing a run in 14 13 innings while striking out 31 batters — more than 60% of the batters he faced.[24][25] It was the third month of the season in which he did not allow a single run. He was named the August Delivery Man of the Month as well.[26] Chapman finished the 2012 season with a 1.51 ERA and 38 saves in 43 chances, recording 122 strikeouts and 23 walks in 71 23 innings.[27]

2013 season

In March 2013 it was announced that Chapman would be the closer for the Cincinnati Reds.[28]

2014 season

On March 19, 2014, Chapman was hit in the head by a line drive by Kansas City's Salvador Perez.[29] The spring-training game between the Reds and the Royals was ended at that point with Kansas City leading 8-3. The two-time All-Star pitcher underwent surgery to fix the skull fracture above his left eye. Chapman has a metal plate permanently inserted into his head.

On April 18, Chapman was cleared to begin throwing batting practice sessions. Reds manager Bryan Price said that he wasn't sure when Chapman would throw but said it likely would be during the team's 10-game trip that ends April 27.[30] He was activated from the disabled list on May 10.[31] Chapman recorded his 100th save against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 29, 2014, becoming the eighth fastest pitcher to reach the milestone.[32] In the 20-pitch appearance, Chapman threw 15 fastballs, all of which were above 100 mph.[33]

Pitching style


Chapman currently throws two pitches: a four-seam fastball at 96–106 mph and a hard slider at 87–91 mph.[34] Chapman's fastball averaged 100.3 mph in 2010, but that declined to 98.6 in 2011 and 97.8 through August 2012.[34] This more modest speed may be part of an attempt to better control his fastball.[35]

Both pitches have extraordinarily high whiff rates of 33% for the fastball and 58% for the slider. These have given Chapman a career strikeouts per nine innings rate of 14.66 as of August 2012, second all-time to Craig Kimbrel, and the third-highest career percentage of pitches for swinging strikes (16.5%).[36]

Scouts worry about his control issues and lack of a solid third pitch, noting that these issues could affect his ability to be a Major League starter.[37] However, Chapman's control seems to have improved.[38] After issuing 41 walks in 50 innings the previous season, Chapman only walked 23 batters in 2012 over 71.2 innings.[39]

Speed records

According to MLB scouts,[40] Chapman's fastball has been clocked as high as 105 mph (170 km/h) (during the 2010 minor league season),[41] and in his second career appearance for the Reds, Chapman threw a fastball clocked at 105.9 mph (170.4 km/h). In his first 19 career pitches, 10 hit triple digits and his fastball averaged 101.3 mph (163.0 km/h).

On September 24, 2010, against the San Diego Padres, Chapman was clocked at 105.1 mph (169.1 km/h), according to PITCHf/x, which is the fastest pitch ever recorded in Major League Baseball.[42]

On April 18, 2011, Chapman threw a pitch to Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen that the scoreboard at Great American Ball Park clocked at a speed of 106 mph (171 km/h), although the box on Fox Sports Ohio's broadcast listed it at 105 mph (169 km/h) and the PITCHf/x system calculated a release speed of 102.4 mph (164.8 km/h). The disparity between these speeds has been widely discussed and questioned.[43]


Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski described Chapman thus: "There is no violence at all in his motion; he's like the anti-Bob Gibson in that way. Just a slow beginning, a fluid motion, and BLAMMO the ball just fires out like the Batmobile rolling out of the cave."[44] One scout noted that although "[t]here are no obvious flaws in Chapman's delivery ... Chapman has to coordinate a lot of moving parts," which may limit his consistency. Chapman's extreme pitch speed may also pose an injury risk to his pitching arm over time.[45]

Personal life

When Chapman defected, he left his father, mother, two sisters,[7] girlfriend, Raidelmis Mendosa Santiestelas, and newborn baby, Ashanti Brianna.[46] In May 2012, it was reported that Chapman was being sued after he allegedly served as "an informant for Cuban state authorities after a failed defection attempt and helped turn in another man in order to get back on the country's national baseball team."[47]

See also


  1. ^ "Aroldis Chapman, SP, International Player".  
  2. ^ Steve Henson (September 25, 2010). "Chapman throws fastest pitch ever recorded at 105 MPH".  
  3. ^ Sean Alfano (April 19, 2011). "Aroldis Chapman fastball controversy: Reds pitcher hits 106 and 105 mph on different radar guns".  
  4. ^ Randhawa, Manny (July 12, 2014). "Aroldis sets MLB record with K in 40th straight game". Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d Craig Fehrman (January 3, 2013). "Feature Articles I The Enigma of Mr. 105 I Cincinnati Magazine". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ Davenport, Clay (August 13, 2009). "Defection Alert". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Jose Arangue, Jr. (August 9, 2009). "New world of hope awaits Chapman". ESPN. Retrieved August 9, 2009. 
  8. ^ Retrieved on 2009-07-02.
  9. ^ Enrique RojasESPNdeportesArchive (January 18, 2012). "Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion declared a free agent, player agent says - ESPN". Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Coveted Cuban defector Chapman establishes residency in Andorra". CNN. September 21, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Aroldis Chapman awaits ruling on MLB free-agency status - ESPN". September 21, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Sources: Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman OKs deal with Reds - MLB News - FOX Sports on MSN". January 11, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  13. ^ By Mark Sheldon / (January 10, 2010). "Cuban star Chapman joins Reds | News". Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Cuban ace Aroldis Chapman inks 6-year deal with Cincinnati Reds - ESPN". January 12, 2010. Archived from the original on August 28, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Reds send Aroldis Chapman to Triple-A - MLB". April 2, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  16. ^ By Mark Sheldon / (April 9, 2010). "Watch Chapman's US debut on Sunday | News". Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  17. ^ Roth, David (September 1, 2010). "Chapman's 103-MPH Big-League Debut". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 2, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Reds' Aroldis Chapman debuts with four pitches topping 100 mph". Sporting August 31, 2010. Archived from the original on September 3, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Reds' Aroldis Chapman perfect again, gets first victory". Sporting September 2, 2010. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Chapman's 105-mph pitch was fastest ever | News". Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ Jones, Todd (August 14, 2012). "Reds' Chapman is wizard of whiffs". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  22. ^ Sheldon, Mark (May 20, 2012). "Chapman assumes closer's role, earns save".  
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ "Chapman named Delivery Man of the Month winner". MLB. August 3, 2012. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Aroldis Chapman 2012 Pitching Splits".  
  26. ^ "Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds named the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month for August". (Press release). Major League Baseball. September 4, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Chapman matures in closer's role | News". June 19, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Aroldis Chapman to stay closer".  
  29. ^ "Reds' Chapman 'lucky' to have only broken bone". March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  30. ^ Fox Sports. "Reds' Chapman cleared to throw batting practice". FOX Sports. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Reds activate Aroldis Chapman". May 10, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  32. ^ Randhawa, Manny (July 29, 2014). "Chapman earns 100th career save". Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  33. ^ Randhawa, Manny (July 29, 2014). "Chapman turns up the heat against D-backs". Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  34. ^ a b "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Albertin Aroldis Chapman". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  35. ^ Fay, John (August 7, 2012). " Majors: Best Tools: Reds' Aroldis Chapman Dominates With MLB's Best Fastball". Baseball America. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Major League Leaderboards » 2012 » Pitchers » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball".  
  37. ^ By Jonathan Mayo / "Scouts see Chapman as rare package | News". Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  38. ^ Daugherty, Paul (April 27, 2012). "Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman on verge of stardom". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Aroldis Chapman Statistics and History".  
  40. ^ Arangure, Jorge (March 15, 2009). "Cuba might be team to beat: Chapman, powerful lineup make Cubans a strong WBC contender". 
  41. ^ Pepin, Matt (August 26, 2010). "Aroldis Chapman hits 105 mph". Archived from the original on August 31, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  42. ^ Nowak, Joey (August 4, 2014). "For Chapman, it's fast, faster, fastest". Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  43. ^  
  44. ^ [2]
  45. ^ Eisenberg, Alex (November 19, 2009). "Aroldis Chapman: Everything You Need to Know". Baseball-Intellect. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  46. ^ "A. Chapman piensa en Grandes Ligas para el 2010". November 13, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  47. ^ "Chapman reportedly being sued for $18M | News". Retrieved May 20, 2012. 

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
  • Cuban Baseball Career statistics
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