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View Full Version : Aroldis Chapman's Immediate and Long-term future role



membengal
01-29-2011, 08:15 AM
This discussion has been had secondary in a number of threads, and I thought maybe one thread to centralize it as we head into the spring and the season might be in order.

Not to put words in his mouth, but CE in particular (and others) have been highly critical of the apparent plan to put Chapman in the pen. Their take is that it appears to not be a one season thing, but that there are indications from the front office that this may be his landing spot.

Pedro (and others) if I understand correctly, think such criticisms are premature as you can build him up as a starter eventually from the pen and still get valuable use from him this year as the Reds try to repeat last season's success.

Interesting takes from two posters who I have enormous respect for with regard to their baseball acumen.

I have a slightly different take, and may be a little alone on it, but finally have a chance to state it (posting in detail from blackberry as I must do at work is simply impossible). I think Pedro and company are right that Chapman being in the pen in 2011 isn't a fatal hinderence to him starting down the road, but do see how those who say it makes it more difficult to move him to the starter's role might be right as well.

But I am perhaps by myself in wondering and thinking if the back of the pen isn't the best spot for him and the team for the duration of his contract. Part of this is a signal of my still believing that back of the bullpen closer who can dominate has immense value (something that runs counter to the newer school thinking I usually embrace). In thinking of Chapman as the heir apparent to Cordero, if Chapman can indeed embrace that role and be successful in it, I look to how the Red Sox handled Jonathan Papelbon, at one time a top 10 starting pitching prospect. Instead, he became a lights out closer for championship teams. Did Boston waste him in that role? I don't think so. He filled a huge need for that team as a cost effective level for a number of years before getting expensive.

Chapman's contract is pricey, but not hugely so, and if he were to become this team's closer in 2012 and beyond, and were good at it, would more than justify the bucks.

Further, I have real concerns that he can maintain anything close to the velocity he carries to the mound now if he goes to starting with 175+ inning workloads. And am not entirely certain that the transition to throwing at 95 as opposed to near 100 will be an easy one or one that will be a slamdunk success. I could see him struggling to figure it out as a starter, and then finally "getting it" somewhere in late 2014, and then the Reds have only, what, a year or so before he gets uber-expensive? At that point they would have paid dearly to ready him for someone else.

If he can be at the back of the pen what I think he can be, then they can fix a team need, cheaply, starting next year, and be set there for a number of years. And that stuff is potentially devastating from the closer's spot.

So, with regard to Chapman, I guess I am on the tiny island of leave-him-in-the-back-of-the-pen and let him become a closer. In stating that, I fully acknowledge the modern thought that saves can come from anywhere, but I guess I don't fully subscribe to that, at all. And Chapman potentially is a monster closer, who could, along with a few of the other plus arms coming, give the Reds a bullpen that can anchor a contender for the next three or four years of this coming window of opportunity.

Hope this a good place for this discussion, and that I have communicated my thoughts somewhat clearly. Nice to have a minute to type them out.

reds1869
01-29-2011, 08:19 AM
Very nice post. I think Chapman could be a dominant closer. He also still has potential as a starter, but his best fit for this organization right now is in the pen. There is no reason he can't bring back the three inning save.

membengal
01-29-2011, 08:22 AM
Very nice post. I think Chapman could be a dominant closer. He also still has potential as a starter, but his best fit for this organization right now is in the pen. There is no reason he can't bring back the three inning save.

Eh, that may be a little too out-of-the-box for current baseball thinking, but, yes, I do think he could certainly get outs in the 8th and stick around for the 9th on occasion with what he throws.

redsfandan
01-29-2011, 08:55 AM
While I agree that Chapman would still be worth his contract as a closer I think it would be better to try to get max value out of him. Which means giving him a real chance to make it as a starting pitcher.

Mem, there's one thing in your post that I'm curious about. You said:

In stating that, I fully acknowledge the modern thought that saves can come from anywhere, but I guess I don't fully subscribe to that, at all.
Can you elaborate on why you feel that way?

Spitball
01-29-2011, 09:01 AM
Nice post, Membengal.

I think I'd be disappointed if Chapman wasn't given the chance to develop into a top of the rotation absolute hammer a la Randy Johnson. He does create excitement though coming out of the pen and the anticipation of the radar pitch speeds being posted.

membengal
01-29-2011, 09:06 AM
Back on blackberry while taxi'ing kids around, dan, so can't be in depth until later. Generally, I don't discount mental make-up for those last outs like other do, nor do I discount affect on a game that having a hammer back of pen means. Don't mean to sidetrack this thread w/ that, but needed to mention it since it informs how I think about chapman's future.

Also, w/ respect to big unit style hopes, my concern is it would take the balance of his contract to try and get him to that point and someone else benefits (expos surely did m's a favor w/ developing johnson). At back of pen, reds improve their team now and for length of his contract...

mth123
01-29-2011, 09:18 AM
Ideally, I'd like to see Chapman become the TOR starter, but if he ends up becoming a Goose Gossage intimidator and he basically ends the game an inning early, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

I do have concerns over his innings. I am firmly in the camp that these guys need to have their innings built slowly from season to season while they are in their young and formative years, so I wouldn't want Chapman of the 125 inning resume jumping straight into the major league rotation in 2011. That said, I've been thinking about this a lot lately and have revised my opinion a bit. Given that Chapman will be 23 in February, the Reds may be able to get the best of both worlds here. IMO, the 2011 and 2012 teams are clearly the Reds high point before the raises start getting extreme and the All Stars at 2B and 3B leave town with no budget left to replace them. With that in mind, I think Chapman is a significant weapon from the pen in 2011 and 2012 and I'd just as soon see the Reds use that weapon in an attempt to go for it in those seasons rather than spend one of those seasons with Chapman buiding innings in AAA. In the Spring of 2013, Chapman will be 25, out of the formative year danger zone and converting him to the rotation at that point wouldn't be so risky regardless of his innings the previous year. They may need to cut back a bit for his transition season (say 170 innings or so in 2013), but he should still be ready to be the ace in 2014 or so when the next generation of guys like Hamilton and Y-Rod assume central figures on the roster as some the expensive guys leave town. At that point, Donnie Joseph should be ready to take over the 9th inning and a smooth transition might be very possible.

I want to win in 2011. Chapman in the pen increases the chances a lot more than Chapman in AAA. Forcing Bray into a higher impact role than he probably should fill, with some filler like Danny Rae as the second lefty, hurts the team significantly as compared with Chapman as the late inning lefty, Bray in the middle innings the lesser guys out of harms way.

redsfandan
01-29-2011, 09:21 AM
Back on blackberry while taxi'ing kids around, dan, so can't be in depth until later. Generally, I don't discount mental make-up for those last outs like other do, nor do I discount affect on a game that having a hammer back of pen means. Don't mean to sidetrack this thread w/ that, but needed to mention it since it informs how I think about chapman's future.

Also, w/ respect to big unit style hopes, my concern is it would take the balance of his contract to try and get him to that point and someone else benefits (expos surely did m's a favor w/ developing johnson). At back of pen, reds improve their team now and for length of his contract...

Ok, so part of the reason that you prefer to let him become a closer is because of how important you view the role of the closer.

mth123
01-29-2011, 09:25 AM
Also, w/ respect to big unit style hopes, my concern is it would take the balance of his contract to try and get him to that point and someone else benefits (expos surely did m's a favor w/ developing johnson). At back of pen, reds improve their team now and for length of his contract...

Fantastic point IMO.

redsfandan
01-29-2011, 09:32 AM
Ideally, I'd like to see Chapman become the TOR starter, but if he ends up becoming a Goose Gossage intimidator and he basically ends the game an inning early, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

I do have concerns over his innings. I am firmly in the camp that these guys need to have their innings built slowly from season to season while they are in their young and formative years, so I wouldn't want Chapman of the 125 inning resume jumping straight into the major league rotation in 2011. That said, I've been thinking about this a lot lately and have revised my opinion a bit. Given that Chapman will be 23 in February, the Reds may be able to get the best of both worlds here. IMO, the 2011 and 2012 teams are clearly the Reds high point before the raises start getting extreme and the All Stars at 2B and 3B leave town with no budget left to replace them. With that in mind, I think Chapman is a significant weapon from the pen in 2011 and 2012 and I'd just as soon see the Reds use that weapon in an attempt to go for it in those seasons rather than spend one of those seasons with Chapman buiding innings in AAA. In the Spring of 2013, Chapman will be 25, out of the formative year danger zone and converting him to the rotation at that point wouldn't be so risky regardless of his innings the previous year. They may need to cut back a bit for his transition season (say 170 innings or so in 2013), but he should still be ready to be the ace in 2014 or so when the next generation of guys like Hamilton and Y-Rod assume central figures on the roster as some the expensive guys leave town. At that point, Donnie Joseph should be ready to take over the 9th inning and a smooth transition might be very possible.

I want to win in 2011. Chapman in the pen increases the chances a lot more than Chapman in AAA. Forcing Bray into a higher impact role than he probably should fill, with some filler like Danny Rae as the second lefty, hurts the team significantly as compared with Chapman as the late inning lefty, Bray in the middle innings the lesser guys out of harms way.
So, your opinion is influenced by your belief that the Reds are in win now mode and that having Chapman spend 2011 and 2012 in the Reds bullpen would help the Reds more than having him spend a season stretching out as a starter in AAA. Despite that this would limit how much Chapman could help the Reds over the length of his contract.

Fwiw, I think the most he's pitched in a year was around 125 ip. So, if he's in the bullpen in both 2011/2012 then I doubt 170 ip would be a realistic expectation for 2013

mth123
01-29-2011, 09:38 AM
So, your opinion is influenced by your belief that the Reds are in win now mode and that having Chapman spend 2011 and 2012 in the Reds bullpen would help the Reds more than having him spend a season stretching out as a starter in AAA. Despite that this would limit how much Chapman could help the Reds over the length of his contract.

Fwiw, I think the most he's pitched in a year was around 125 ip. So, if he's in the bullpen in both 2011/2012 then I doubt 170 ip would be a realistic expectation for 2013

Win now is my opinion and I do think a jump to 170 IP in 2013 would be fine. The 30 inning rule of thumb (including Verducci's idea) which I loosely would follow out of caution despite whether anyone believes there is any convincing evidence, applies to kids in their formative years (usually age 23 and less). A pitcher at age 25 is a different animal than a 20 or 21 year old.

dunner13
01-29-2011, 09:41 AM
I think the wildcard is can chapman handle starting. I remember last year when they moved him to the pen they said it completely changed him. He became much more focused and the pressure of having to be ready to pitch every day pushed him to be better. If thats true then is it possible that hes a guy who just will never reach his full potential pitching every 5 days? If Chapman can handle starting and maybe after spending some time in the majors he can then obviously he would have more value being a cy young contender then a closer, but it is possible that hes one of many pitchers who has a dynamite arm but can never really put it together for 7 innings a game but can for one, if thats the case then it might be much better to have a dominant closer then a starter who throws 99 but cant get his ERA below 4.50

mth123
01-29-2011, 09:45 AM
I think the wildcard is can chapman handle starting. I remember last year when they moved him to the pen they said it completely changed him. He became much more focused and the pressure of having to be ready to pitch every day pushed him to be better. If thats true then is it possible that hes a guy who just will never reach his full potential pitching every 5 days? If Chapman can handle starting and maybe after spending some time in the majors he can then obviously he would have more value being a cy young contender then a closer, but it is possible that hes one of many pitchers who has a dynamite arm but can never really put it together for 7 innings a game but can for one, if thats the case then it might be much better to have a dominant closer then a starter who throws 99 but cant get his ERA below 4.50

Nice post. I think we know Chapman can be a force in the late innings. We hope he can become a TOR starter, and I'd give him a chance at some point. Right now I'd plan on him where I know he can help.

membengal
01-29-2011, 09:53 AM
Co-sign on mth's summation. I am pretty sure chapman can be a huge contributor to this team back of pen now. And they are built to try and win now. I am loathe to waste time hoping he can realize his huge starting potential, given that reds may not truly ever benefit if he does or that he may never become the starting pitcher hammer we hope for.

And yes, dan, my view is that closers are important. That's the part that puts me at odds w/ newer thinking, I know.

Spitball
01-29-2011, 10:27 AM
Also, w/ respect to big unit style hopes, my concern is it would take the balance of his contract to try and get him to that point and someone else benefits (expos surely did m's a favor w/ developing johnson). At back of pen, reds improve their team now and for length of his contract...

Except I'm not sure you can fairly say the Expos developed Johnson and then the Mariners benefited from their services. Johnson was a prospect the Expos packaged for Mark Langston in 1989. Johnson had pitched a total of 11 games for the Expos. He was truly a work in progress when the Mariners got him. I believe the Ms had him for 10 years.

I believe there were a lot of discussions (sort of) along these lines about Lincecum also.

Btw, I'm off to the horse races in Hot Springs. I'll check back with discussion later.

jojo
01-29-2011, 10:45 AM
Randy Johnson didn't pitch 200 major league innings in a season until he was 26 years old. His first four years as a major league starter saw him averaging roughly 5.5 BB/9.

Chapman is 22. The Reds don't seem too impressed with his pitchability (i.e. they don't think he's developed enough between the ears to successfully work through major league lineups multiple times).

I guess he falls in that grey area especially given the contract he signed. They could burn years on the front end letting him learn to pitch in the minors hoping he'll be that TOR or they can leverage his stuff during his front end years in the pen and ease him into the rotation. I haven't heard anyone in baseball seriously question whether Chapman can be a successful starter. It just seems to be a timing question and using him out of the pen in the majors probably doesn't inform about the Reds view of his ultimate role as much as some may fear that it does.

kaldaniels
01-29-2011, 10:48 AM
If the Reds spent the next 2 years seasoning Chapman in AAA to become a starter (bouncing him between AAA/Cincy if things warranted it in Cincy), would they still control him at the big league level for 4-5 more years, or would he be down to just 3 years left starting in 2013.

I'd like for him to be a starter for the Reds for the maximum amount of time.

IslandRed
01-29-2011, 10:53 AM
Good posts, guys. I'm kind of on the fence about this too. Obviously, the theoretical value of a top-of-the-rotation starter is greater than for a closer, even a top closer. But the Reds are not dealing with theory, they're dealing with an actual human being who has had a quite-atypical path to where he is today. As Dunner13 mentioned, Chapman really had no idea of how to be a professional ballplayer, and the bullpen switch helped greatly because he woke up every morning knowing he had to be ready to pitch that day. Maybe he takes the lessons and can apply them to an every-five-days routine. Maybe he can't. We're not really in a position to know. In that respect, we need to have a little faith in the decision-makers that they make the best use of Chapman in practice, if not in theory.

membengal
01-29-2011, 11:42 AM
Except I'm not sure you can fairly say the Expos developed Johnson and then the Mariners benefited from their services. Johnson was a prospect the Expos packaged for Mark Langston in 1989. Johnson had pitched a total of 11 games for the Expos. He was truly a work in progress when the Mariners got him. I believe the Ms had him for 10 years.

I believe there were a lot of discussions (sort of) along these lines about Lincecum also.

Btw, I'm off to the horse races in Hot Springs. I'll check back with discussion later.

Didn't mean to imply unit was fully baked when m's got him. But exoos did a LOT of the baking in the minors before he got to seattle and made his final leaps to hammer. I, for one, am not for sending aroldis to AAA for a few years of working on innings, his third pitch, and approach when this team is on the cusp of wanting to try and take advantage of this window of opportunity, something that chapman in the pen helps with, particularly if he can replace cordero after a season of high leverage use this year.

OnBaseMachine
01-29-2011, 11:51 AM
I'm in the camp that thinks it would be an awful idea to permanently place him in the bullpen without giving him a chance to start. I would have brought him into spring training this year with the idea of him starting. If he can't handle it then they can always put him back in the bullpen. I just think he's way too talented to put in the bullpen without at least giving him an opportunity to start. As a starter, he has a chance to be that shutdown ace we're looking for.

membengal
01-29-2011, 11:58 AM
Mariano rivera was once a starter. Not sure yanks will ever regret moving him. Just saying sometimes it isn't as simple as saying it's a mistake if he never starts in the majors. That fastball/slider combo is so devastating out of the pen, it may be easier for him to sustain it without inevitable wear and tear of starting. Rivera's cutter was a historically special pitch, but how much effectiveness would he have lost on it if he had kept with it as a starter? Got me, but perhaps he kept it as a plus pitch because of how he was used. Perhaps chapman could keep that special heater longer from back of pen. Dunno. But it crosses my mind.

As for giving him spring to see if he can make it as a starter, obm, that seems an unreasonable testing ground. Plus, and this is weird to say...the starting staff is kinda full up. Where's a spot for him in your scenario regardless? Seems to me people wanting him to start are in essence arguing for AAA. And I am selfish enough about the reds' chances in 2011 to want him helping the big club.

redsfandan
01-29-2011, 12:01 PM
Mariano rivera was once a starter. Not sure yanks will ever regret moving him. Just saying sometimes it isn't as simple as saying it's a mistake if he never starts in the majors. That fastball/slider combo is so devastating out of the pen, it may be easier for him to sustain it without inevitable wear and tear of starting. Rivera's cutter was a historically special pitch, but how much effectiveness would he have lost on it if he had kept with it as a starter? Got me, but perhaps he kept it as a plus pitch because of how he was used. Perhaps chapman could keep that special heater longer from back of pen. Dunno. But it crosses my mind.
But, it would be a mistake, imo, if he's never even given the chance.

membengal
01-29-2011, 12:05 PM
Dan...why? And, where is that chance to come from? The reds in 2013? He may still get that shot per mth's reasonable scenario. But for 2011...pen is fine by me. And if he succeeds cordero next year, I won't mourn what might have been.

OnBaseMachine
01-29-2011, 12:11 PM
As for giving him spring to see if he can make it as a starter, obm, that seems an unreasonable testing ground. Plus, and this is weird to say...the starting staff is kinda full up. Where's a spot for him in your scenario regardless? Seems to me people wanting him to start are in essence arguing for AAA. And I am selfish enough about the reds' chances in 2011 to want him helping the big club.

That's a good problem to have. I think Chapman has the highest ceiling of anyone on the Reds pitching staff, and maybe out of anyone in the major leagues. If he reaches 3/4ths of his potential he's a top-of-rotation starter. I know you and some others feel differently, but I'm going to be very disappointed if he's never given a chance to start. Guys like Chapman just don't come along very often.

membengal
01-29-2011, 12:19 PM
OBM, don't misread me. I am hugely enamored with his stuff. I just compared his fastball/slider combo in terms of potential effectiveness with mariano's cutter. So, yeah, I am a smitten kitten. But this isn't the 2006 reds, and this team could use chapman..now. And that is in the pen because I don't think he is remotely ready to shoulder starting every fifth day in the majors now. Not ahead of leake/bailey. Not yet. So I am all for him making the team and hopefully sliding into the charlton role in this year's pen. And I would not cry if that became the myers role in next year's pen. But don't get me wrong, he's swell on a whole lot of levels.

redsfandan
01-29-2011, 12:25 PM
Dan...why? And, where is that chance to come from? The reds in 2013? He may still get that shot per mth's reasonable scenario. But for 2011...pen is fine by me. And if he succeeds cordero next year, I won't mourn what might have been.

Why would it be a mistake to give him a chance to make the conversion? Simple, a top starting pitcher is worth ALOT more than a top reliever.

Yes, probably late 2012 or 2013. Although I don't feel mth's scenario is ideal and it's probably not realistic either. I'm just not hopeful that a rotation spot would be a good idea in 2013 if Chapman doesn't have any starts between now and 2013.

membengal
01-29-2011, 12:29 PM
Dan, are you for chapman spening this season in AAA then? I think that's the logical outcome of your thoughts. And if he does, I will not bang on the reds for choosing that. But I surely do think he can help the big club in 2011 out of the pen. A lot. And am not sure I want to sacrifice that.

mth123
01-29-2011, 01:04 PM
I think many are undervaluing the impact that a shut-down set-up guy can have on the team's won-loss record. As an 8th inning guy Chapman probably appears in 65 or 70 games in 2011. Some percentage of the time his appearance in the game vs. some other pitcher won't matter much, but for some portion of the time, having Chapman there instead of some lesser arm will be the difference between winning and losing the game (remember his role will be to pitch when it matters and not to log mop-up innings). Lets say that its a fairly low percentage. Say 9%. That is still 6 wins. That is the difference between an 86 win 3rd place team that goes home at the end of September and a 92 win Division Champ.

Since I don't think he's ready to make that type of impact as a starter (the innings/age combo works against him), I want those wins as opposed to him pitching in AAA and Danny Rae Herrera blowing 6 or 7 games for the Reds. As he gets older and his arm matures, the jump to the rotation won't matter nearly as much from an innings standpoint.

As for the innings problem, I'm all for building innings too, but I don't think people throwing that out there are applying the conventional wisdom correctly. The 30 inning per year increase only applies to young developing immature arms. A 21 year old kid is still maturing physically even if he's 6-4, 220. A 25 year old is most likely done with that and the 30 inning increase doesn't really apply. He can be converted later even if he never gets those innings under him. He'll just need to wait until his body is ready.

redsfandan
01-29-2011, 01:17 PM
Dan, are you for chapman spening this season in AAA then? I think that's the logical outcome of your thoughts. And if he does, I will not bang on the reds for choosing that. But I surely do think he can help the big club in 2011 out of the pen. A lot. And am not sure I want to sacrifice that.
No, not exactly. I posted this in a minors thread about a week ago:

Maybe they'll start Chapman in the Reds bullpen, send him to the minors after a month or so to stretch out and start to build his innings up with Arrendondo taking his place in the Reds bullpen, then bring him back to use in the Reds bullpen in September.
http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2317128&postcount=25
I'm not against Chapman helping the Reds as a reliever in 2011. But, I also believe that it's important to build up his innings, and experience as a starter, so we can at least see if he can make that conversion successfully. So, I'd like to see if both can be done.

TheNext44
01-29-2011, 02:02 PM
Has there ever been a pitching prospect with the ceiling of Chapman that has spent his entire career in the pen?

Everyone mentioned so far, Rivera, Papelbon, Gossage, and others like L. Smith, Reardon, Sutter, Tekulve, and Quiz was a failed starter turned reliever.

I agree it wouldn't be the worst thing in world if he become a dominant closer his whole career with the Reds, but it would also be far from the best thing too. I would like to Chapman at least get the chance to fail as a starter before he permanently is placed in pen.

That said, I don't see any reason why he can't be a reliever at first and then developed into a starter later. This whole "building up arm strength" argument" is fine in the abstract, but just like pitch counts, every pitcher and every situation is different.

membengal
01-29-2011, 02:07 PM
Next44 wrote:


Has there ever been a pitching prospect with the ceiling of Chapman that has spent his entire career in the pen?

Everyone mentioned so far, Rivera, Papelbon, Gossage, and others like L. Smith, Reardon, Sutter, Tekulve, and Quiz was a failed starter turned reliever.

I agree it wouldn't be the worst thing in world if he become a dominant closer his whole career with the Reds, but it would also be far from the best thing too. I would like to Chapman at least get the chance to fail as a starter before he permanently is placed in pen.

That said, I don't see any reason why he can't be a reliever at first and then developed into a starter later. This whole "building up arm strength" argument" is fine in the abstract, but just like pitch counts, every pitcher and every situation is different.

Failed starter? Papelbon and Rivera? I don't agree with that characterization of either.

At least, I don't with respect to Papelbon. I don't think I do with respect to Rivera, but don't remember as clearly his transition. I think he only took a handful of starts in the majors before the switch. Does that mean he failed? I don't think that is a fair statement I guess.

jojo
01-29-2011, 02:15 PM
Next44 wrote:



Failed starter? Papelbon and Rivera? I don't agree with that characterization of either.

At least, I don't with respect to Papelbon. I don't think I do with respect to Rivera, but don't remember as clearly his transition. I think he only took a handful of starts in the majors before the switch. Does that mean he failed? I don't think that is a fair statement I guess.

Papelbon was converted from a starter by Boston because he doesn't have a true starter's arsenal.

membengal
01-29-2011, 02:22 PM
Papelbon was converted from a starter by Boston because he doesn't have a true starter's arsenal.

Well, perhaps he could have if they had left him in AAA to develop a third pitch. They chose not to. They maximized what he offered at an early point. Something I wouldn't mind the Reds doing.

Looking at Papelbon's minor league stats, where he was 99.5% exclusive a starter, it sure doesn't scream "failure" or bespeak of a lack of a "starter's arsenal". In fact, pretty dominant.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=papelb001jon

ETA:

Similarly, Mo Rivera's minor league stats don't scream "failed starter" either. Pretty darn good, actually:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=rivera002mar

WebScorpion
01-29-2011, 02:28 PM
I think Chapman is a very young man who is probably confused enough by being in a foreign land and not speaking the language without flip flopping his role around or bouncing him from AAA to the Major Leagues and back and forth. I think he'll be far more likely to succeed with a clear plan and a smooth progression through the plan. I would put him in the Louisville rotation and develop his stamina, develop his third pitch, and work on his location. If he develops into a pitcher who can shut down the opponent, he will pitch more innings over the course of a season at his lower WHIP and ERA from the rotation than from the bullpen. That maximizes his value toward a championship.
That said, I don't think the Reds will do this for the simple reason that he already puts butts in the seats at the Major League level. People flock to see the fastest pitcher in the world...and as a reliever, you might see him any night. He's a cash cow and they know it. They may ruin his development, but people don't come to see him because he's a top of the rotation pitcher, they come to watch him light up the radar gun. And he can do that MORE in relief...whether he's effective or not. That maximizes his value to the current bottom line. :(

TheNext44
01-29-2011, 02:33 PM
Papelbon was converted from a starter by Boston because he doesn't have a true starter's arsenal.

I believe they tried to turn him back into a starter in spring 2007, but decided he was best suited for the closer role. One interesting aspect of this was that the most innings he ever logged in the minors was 129, and they felt they could convert him back to a starter over one offseason.

TheNext44
01-29-2011, 02:42 PM
Well, perhaps he could have if they had left him in AAA to develop a third pitch. They chose not to. They maximized what he offered at an early point. Something I wouldn't mind the Reds doing.

Looking at Papelbon's minor league stats, where he was 99.5% exclusive a starter, it sure doesn't scream "failure" or bespeak of a lack of a "starter's arsenal". In fact, pretty dominant.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=papelb001jon

ETA:

Similarly, Mo Rivera's minor league stats don't scream "failed starter" either. Pretty darn good, actually:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=rivera002mar

Neither Papelbon nor Rivera ever developed a third pitch to be a starter. Lot's of guys put up pretty numbers in the minors on two pitches and end up as relievers.

RedsManRick
01-29-2011, 02:46 PM
The most obvious comp from the bullpen perspective is Neftali Feliz. He has a starter's arsenal and was dominant in the minors, but his control was just 'ok'. Allowed to go 100% in the pen, he was and is ridiculous.

In both cases, I think not giving the pitcher the chance to start would be a big mistake. You basically cannot be good enough as a reliever to be worth pitching 1/4 to 1/3 as many innings unless you're like a #4 starter and an awesome reliever.

RedsManRick
01-29-2011, 02:46 PM
double post

membengal
01-29-2011, 03:29 PM
Neither Papelbon nor Rivera ever developed a third pitch to be a starter. Lot's of guys put up pretty numbers in the minors on two pitches and end up as relievers.

Correct, but in each instance, they were brought up and converted rather than wait for them to work on a third pitch. It may be semantics, but I don't think that is "failed as starter" as much as the team wanting to maximize what they did well at an early date. Presumably, they could have worked in AAA on a third pitch and the clubs chose not to.

RMR, the Feliz comp is spot on. I simply forget about him still. Is it a waste of Texas not to put him back in AAA and hope he harnesses his control and finds a third pitch? Or are they better off letting him do what he is doing at the back end of their pen? I come down on the they are better off doing what they are doing letting him be a closer now rather than waiting to see if he ever gets it as a starter...

RED VAN HOT
01-29-2011, 03:30 PM
membengal has laid out the issue very well. A month ago I was firmly in the camp of sending Chapman to AAA to polish his secondary pitches and improve command. Now, I am less sure.

To me, the issue comes down to how long it will take to make him into a starter capable of displacing one of the starters that the Reds already control for three or more years. I don't have the baseball knowledge to make an educated guess at the answer. Like most, I do believe, however, that he could help the Reds today in the pen. If he never reached the level as a starter that most of us seem to view as a slam dunk, the Reds would have wasted some years in which he could have helped the major league club. On the other hand, if he were to become a TOR starter, the Reds would certainly lose him to free agency after his contract ends. Even after ascending to the ML level, there is still a learning curve to reach elite starter status. It is not clear how much value the Reds would get from him before he leaves. My first rule of small market success, is don't become a farm team for clubs with large payrolls.

Closers don't make as much money. As a closer on a successful team, the Reds would have a better chance to extend his contract for a couple of years. As cold as it sounds, the Reds have to look at Chapman as a five year asset, then decide on the course that would maximize the value of that asset.

TheNext44
01-29-2011, 03:56 PM
Correct, but in each instance, they were brought up and converted rather than wait for them to work on a third pitch. It may be semantics, but I don't think that is "failed as starter" as much as the team wanting to maximize what they did well at an early date. Presumably, they could have worked in AAA on a third pitch and the clubs chose not to.

RMR, the Feliz comp is spot on. I simply forget about him still. Is it a waste of Texas not to put him back in AAA and hope he harnesses his control and finds a third pitch? Or are they better off letting him do what he is doing at the back end of their pen? I come down on the they are better off doing what they are doing letting him be a closer now rather than waiting to see if he ever gets it as a starter...

To me, it is just semantics. Failed starter was probably not the best term to use. My point is that none of those guys were considered to have a high ceiling as a starter. Their value was considered to be higher as a closer than as a starter. At this point, I don't see that as the case with Chapman.

As for N. Feliz, he's a nice comp for Chapman. He has the pitches to be a TOR starter, and the Rangers probably will turn him back into a starter eventually, or at least try. I know there was talk this year of trying it. He will be an interesting case to watch.

Will M
01-29-2011, 05:45 PM
1. I have no problem with Chapman in the pen for 2011. If he ends up a dominant closer & never becomes a starter I am ok with that as well.

2. the 2011 pen is significantly better with Chapman as the late inning lefty & Bray as a middle inning lefty than one with Bray as the late inning lefty & someone like Willis or Herrera as the middle inning lefty. as mth123 points out this could have a major effect on the 2011 team. its not just a couple of games, it could be the difference between the division & 2nd or 3rd place. especially since 2011 is looking like a tight 3 team race. Colby Rasmus or Prince Fielder won't get to tee off against Bray with the game on the line, they have to face Chapman's 105 mph heater & his devastating slider.

3. the Reds pitching coach has stated that Chapman may be used a bit unconventionally in the pen. recently most relievers go one inning max. however Chapman may pitch 2 (maybe 3) innings at a time. i don't have a link. i just recall this from an interview a while back.

jojo
01-29-2011, 06:22 PM
To me, it is just semantics. Failed starter was probably not the best term to use. My point is that none of those guys were considered to have a high ceiling as a starter. Their value was considered to be higher as a closer than as a starter. At this point, I don't see that as the case with Chapman.

As for N. Feliz, he's a nice comp for Chapman. He has the pitches to be a TOR starter, and the Rangers probably will turn him back into a starter eventually, or at least try. I know there was talk this year of trying it. He will be an interesting case to watch.

Basically its drawing the conclusion that the player would be more valuable in the pen then in the rotation. Adjectives aside, in a practical sense, that is generally a dramatic statement about a pitcher's upside/ceiling.

membengal
01-29-2011, 07:36 PM
Basically its drawing the conclusion that the player would be more valuable in the pen then in the rotation. Adjectives aside, in a practical sense, that is generally a dramatic statement about a pitcher's upside/ceiling.

That gets to a fundamental disagreement I have with that statement, and probably not worth getting sidetracked on this thread. It goes to how I value a good closer. And, how I suspect, teams still do too. You clearly see someone slotted for the pen and your default setting is "failure". And I don't. I get it. No need to re-beat that subject to death here. Thanks.

jojo
01-29-2011, 08:32 PM
That gets to a fundamental disagreement I have with that statement, and probably not worth getting sidetracked on this thread. It goes to how I value a good closer. And, how I suspect, teams still do too. You clearly see someone slotted for the pen and your default setting is "failure". And I don't. I get it. No need to re-beat that subject to death here. Thanks.

I see someone slotted for the pen and the default setting is that they are less valuable than a starter. I'm not sure why you're hung up on "failure" but my position isn't even controversial. On any given year an uber reliever is worth roughly what an average starter might be worth. If given a choice, a typical GM would choose starter over reliever if he thought the pitcher has an equal chance of being successful in either role. GMs don't convert a quality starter into a reliever without an extremely compelling reason. Basically the pen is overwhelmingly populated with formers starters. Starters can go to the pen. It's much rarer for relievers to transition successfully in the other direction unless a guy has been weaned into the rotation by purposefully breaking him in via the pen (i.e. no one in the org thought his permanent role would be reliever).

Really this isn't a philosophical argument.

Spitball
01-29-2011, 09:32 PM
Neither Papelbon nor Rivera ever developed a third pitch to be a starter. Lot's of guys put up pretty numbers in the minors on two pitches and end up as relievers.

Actually, Papelbon has three very good pitches with his fastball, splitter, and slider. He wasn't a failed starter but a closer out of necessity. In 2006, Keith Foulke was the Sox closer but had not regained his effectiveness after knee problems. Timlin and others also failed to impress in the role. Papelbon was pressed into service and had one of the greatest seasons for a closer ever with an ERA less than one.

The Sox planned to return Papelbon to path of becoming a starter and acquired Joel Piniero in the winter of 2007 to fill the closer role. In spring training of 2007, it became clear the Piniero experiment was not going to work and Papelbon agreed to return to the closer role.

Papelbon didn't really fail as a starter. He has had the necessary pitches but has been too valuable to the Sox in the closer role.

Caveat Emperor
01-29-2011, 10:34 PM
My feelings on this issue are well documented elsewhere, and not really worth re-hashing in full.

I simply don't think the value of middle relief compares, in any way, to the value of starting pitching. Having a "hammer" to shorten games is great, but it's absolutely nothing compared to the value of a "hammer" to start them. So long as Chapman has the potential to be the latter, they're wasting their time trying to make him the former.

The Phillies aren't the Phillies because of Brad Lidge -- they're the Phillies because of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. And, shockingly, I don't think the New York Yankees would be any less dominant in the late 90s / early 00's if Mariano Rivera had decided to take up cricket instead of baseball -- Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens would've done just fine with any number of people closing games for them.

Good bullpen pitching is available from any number of sources. The Reds minor leagues has pushed through several quality relievers the last few years (including Ondrusek and Smith last year). They acquired Nick Masset for a broken-down guy who used to be Ken Griffey Jr. and got Jared Burton for $50k and a few signed forms. And, if all else fails in the minors, a solid reliever usually runs between $1m and $4m per year in Free Agency.

Chapman has an electric arm, throws more than two pitches, and is left handed. Don't banish talent like that to the bullpen when you can fix any BP problems (which don't exist, mind you -- the Reds are in fantastic bullpen shape even w/o Chapman there) so easily by other means.

redsfandan
01-29-2011, 11:11 PM
membengal has laid out the issue very well. A month ago I was firmly in the camp of sending Chapman to AAA to polish his secondary pitches and improve command. Now, I am less sure.

To me, the issue comes down to how long it will take to make him into a starter capable of displacing one of the starters that the Reds already control for three or more years. I don't have the baseball knowledge to make an educated guess at the answer. Like most, I do believe, however, that he could help the Reds today in the pen. If he never reached the level as a starter that most of us seem to view as a slam dunk, the Reds would have wasted some years in which he could have helped the major league club. On the other hand, if he were to become a TOR starter, the Reds would certainly lose him to free agency after his contract ends. Even after ascending to the ML level, there is still a learning curve to reach elite starter status. It is not clear how much value the Reds would get from him before he leaves. My first rule of small market success, is don't become a farm team for clubs with large payrolls.

Closers don't make as much money. As a closer on a successful team, the Reds would have a better chance to extend his contract for a couple of years. As cold as it sounds, the Reds have to look at Chapman as a five year asset, then decide on the course that would maximize the value of that asset.
He can do some work on those things while he pitches in relief for the Reds. But, the experience of starting, facing guys 3-4 times a game instead of only the 3-4 batters he'd face in a relief role, is very important imo. He's only had 13 starts since the Reds signed him. I think he's going to need more experience than that if starting is to remain a possibility.

dougdirt
01-30-2011, 03:58 AM
My feelings on this issue are well documented elsewhere, and not really worth re-hashing in full.

I simply don't think the value of middle relief compares, in any way, to the value of starting pitching. Having a "hammer" to shorten games is great, but it's absolutely nothing compared to the value of a "hammer" to start them. So long as Chapman has the potential to be the latter, they're wasting their time trying to make him the former.

The Phillies aren't the Phillies because of Brad Lidge -- they're the Phillies because of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. And, shockingly, I don't think the New York Yankees would be any less dominant in the late 90s / early 00's if Mariano Rivera had decided to take up cricket instead of baseball -- Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens would've done just fine with any number of people closing games for them.

Good bullpen pitching is available from any number of sources. The Reds minor leagues has pushed through several quality relievers the last few years (including Ondrusek and Smith last year). They acquired Nick Masset for a broken-down guy who used to be Ken Griffey Jr. and got Jared Burton for $50k and a few signed forms. And, if all else fails in the minors, a solid reliever usually runs between $1m and $4m per year in Free Agency.

Chapman has an electric arm, throws more than two pitches, and is left handed. Don't banish talent like that to the bullpen when you can fix any BP problems (which don't exist, mind you -- the Reds are in fantastic bullpen shape even w/o Chapman there) so easily by other means.

Fantastic post. Just fantastic. Anyone want to print this out and send it to Jocketty/Baker?

Ron Madden
01-30-2011, 04:43 AM
My feelings on this issue are well documented elsewhere, and not really worth re-hashing in full.

I simply don't think the value of middle relief compares, in any way, to the value of starting pitching. Having a "hammer" to shorten games is great, but it's absolutely nothing compared to the value of a "hammer" to start them. So long as Chapman has the potential to be the latter, they're wasting their time trying to make him the former.

The Phillies aren't the Phillies because of Brad Lidge -- they're the Phillies because of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. And, shockingly, I don't think the New York Yankees would be any less dominant in the late 90s / early 00's if Mariano Rivera had decided to take up cricket instead of baseball -- Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens would've done just fine with any number of people closing games for them.

Good bullpen pitching is available from any number of sources. The Reds minor leagues has pushed through several quality relievers the last few years (including Ondrusek and Smith last year). They acquired Nick Masset for a broken-down guy who used to be Ken Griffey Jr. and got Jared Burton for $50k and a few signed forms. And, if all else fails in the minors, a solid reliever usually runs between $1m and $4m per year in Free Agency.

Chapman has an electric arm, throws more than two pitches, and is left handed. Don't banish talent like that to the bullpen when you can fix any BP problems (which don't exist, mind you -- the Reds are in fantastic bullpen shape even w/o Chapman there) so easily by other means.

Hammer meets nail, Good Post. :beerme:

membengal
01-30-2011, 07:34 AM
A GREAT bullpen arm is not available from any number of sources. Otherwise pens like the Reds had in 1990 would be the norm. And that is clearly not the case. Reds starting staff is full. Seems to me either we send Chapman to AAA which is what CE, Doug and Ron as well as OBM seem to be advocating to continue to develop

or

Chapman heads to the pen for at least 2011 to help this team win.

I am firmly in the second camp, and IF he is as good back there as I think he can be, would not mind if he stays and takes over for Cordero.

I also admit that part of my thinking there is that I am less bullish on his chances of being as good a starter as many of you seem to think in time to help the Reds. He really hasn't had that much time to develop what it will take to eventually be a fulltime starting pitcher while in Cuba, I think there's years of development ahead of him, and, again, it's frankly not in the Reds' interest to put in those years only to see him finish the process just in time for free agency. If there's a middle ground, fine. And that middle ground may be him in the pen for at least this year, which has the additional benefit of helping this team win this year.

edabbs44
01-30-2011, 09:40 AM
My feelings on this issue are well documented elsewhere, and not really worth re-hashing in full.

I simply don't think the value of middle relief compares, in any way, to the value of starting pitching. Having a "hammer" to shorten games is great, but it's absolutely nothing compared to the value of a "hammer" to start them. So long as Chapman has the potential to be the latter, they're wasting their time trying to make him the former.

The Phillies aren't the Phillies because of Brad Lidge -- they're the Phillies because of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. And, shockingly, I don't think the New York Yankees would be any less dominant in the late 90s / early 00's if Mariano Rivera had decided to take up cricket instead of baseball -- Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens would've done just fine with any number of people closing games for them.

Good bullpen pitching is available from any number of sources. The Reds minor leagues has pushed through several quality relievers the last few years (including Ondrusek and Smith last year). They acquired Nick Masset for a broken-down guy who used to be Ken Griffey Jr. and got Jared Burton for $50k and a few signed forms. And, if all else fails in the minors, a solid reliever usually runs between $1m and $4m per year in Free Agency.

Chapman has an electric arm, throws more than two pitches, and is left handed. Don't banish talent like that to the bullpen when you can fix any BP problems (which don't exist, mind you -- the Reds are in fantastic bullpen shape even w/o Chapman there) so easily by other means.

I get the point and, if the choice was to have a hammer either in the front or back of games, I would obviously choose the starter.

But I think you may be discounting something...relievers are very unpredictable. To compare what Chapman can/will do in the pen to picking up guys in the Rule V is a difficult thing to do. To drop a complete shutdown guy in the pen, especially for a contender right now, that's a good thing. The trade off is that the Reds are winning right now and can use Chapman more in the pen than in the rotation in 2011.

I'm not sure what your position was at the time, but many people were dying for Walt to package up the farn for 2 months of Cliff Lee. Although not the same, this is a related choice they have to make. Some people are talking about how the Reds have a smll window to work in right now. Is putting Chapman on the farm as a starter the no brainer it may seem to be?

I wouldn't be against it and maybe my choice with limited info would be to let him start for a few months down there and then join the big team midseason as a reliever if they don't need a starter. Th other thing to think about is Cordero...it will be interesting to see how they treat him if he starts out slow. This might really be the reason for the 2011 decision to put him in the pen. Either way, there might be some logic here.

TheNext44
01-30-2011, 02:01 PM
Actually, Papelbon has three very good pitches with his fastball, splitter, and slider. He wasn't a failed starter but a closer out of necessity. In 2006, Keith Foulke was the Sox closer but had not regained his effectiveness after knee problems. Timlin and others also failed to impress in the role. Papelbon was pressed into service and had one of the greatest seasons for a closer ever with an ERA less than one.

The Sox planned to return Papelbon to path of becoming a starter and acquired Joel Piniero in the winter of 2007 to fill the closer role. In spring training of 2007, it became clear the Piniero experiment was not going to work and Papelbon agreed to return to the closer role.

Papelbon didn't really fail as a starter. He has had the necessary pitches but has been too valuable to the Sox in the closer role.

Thanks for the correction.

This still proves the point I was trying to make. Starters are moved to the pen only when they are more valuable to the team as a closer than as a starter.

The fact that they tried to move him back after one year is very telling. First, it says that they felt he was most valuable as a starter, if they had a decent closer. Second, they felt they could convert him back to being a starter in one offseason, even though he never threw more than 129 innings in a single season.

TheNext44
01-30-2011, 02:30 PM
A GREAT bullpen arm is not available from any number of sources. Otherwise pens like the Reds had in 1990 would be the norm. And that is clearly not the case. Reds starting staff is full. Seems to me either we send Chapman to AAA which is what CE, Doug and Ron as well as OBM seem to be advocating to continue to develop

or

Chapman heads to the pen for at least 2011 to help this team win.

I am firmly in the second camp, and IF he is as good back there as I think he can be, would not mind if he stays and takes over for Cordero.

I also admit that part of my thinking there is that I am less bullish on his chances of being as good a starter as many of you seem to think in time to help the Reds. He really hasn't had that much time to develop what it will take to eventually be a fulltime starting pitcher while in Cuba, I think there's years of development ahead of him, and, again, it's frankly not in the Reds' interest to put in those years only to see him finish the process just in time for free agency. If there's a middle ground, fine. And that middle ground may be him in the pen for at least this year, which has the additional benefit of helping this team win this year.

Two points:

1. The difference in value between a great closer and a good closer, and even an average closer doesn't appear to be much. The post season has been filled with teams with just average closers, and many have advanced to and sometimes even won the World Series. Just look at the Reds with Cordero last season. They didn't advance far, but I think that most would agree that that was due more to a lack of a number one starter than a great closer.

2. I completely disagree that Chapman is years away from developing into a starter. In fact I think he is ready right now to be an effective #4-5 starter in the majors. He clearly has the stuff. He just needs more experience, and getting used to being a MLB pitcher. So here is what I would like to see happen:

Chapman is used as a reliever in the Goose Gossage mode of being that arm used in the toughest situations, regardless of inning or length, for this season. This should get him over 100 innings. Then he is stretched out in the offseason to be the #5 starter in 2012. This would limit his innings to around 150. He should then be set to start full time in 2013.

Caveat Emperor
01-30-2011, 03:00 PM
I get the point and, if the choice was to have a hammer either in the front or back of games, I would obviously choose the starter.

But I think you may be discounting something...relievers are very unpredictable. To compare what Chapman can/will do in the pen to picking up guys in the Rule V is a difficult thing to do. To drop a complete shutdown guy in the pen, especially for a contender right now, that's a good thing. The trade off is that the Reds are winning right now and can use Chapman more in the pen than in the rotation in 2011.

I'm not sure what your position was at the time, but many people were dying for Walt to package up the farn for 2 months of Cliff Lee. Although not the same, this is a related choice they have to make. Some people are talking about how the Reds have a smll window to work in right now. Is putting Chapman on the farm as a starter the no brainer it may seem to be?

I wouldn't be against it and maybe my choice with limited info would be to let him start for a few months down there and then join the big team midseason as a reliever if they don't need a starter. Th other thing to think about is Cordero...it will be interesting to see how they treat him if he starts out slow. This might really be the reason for the 2011 decision to put him in the pen. Either way, there might be some logic here.

My point wasn't to say that "Oh, just go grab someone in the Rule V draft if you need a reliever," but rather to indicate that you can build a bullpen through lots of non-traditional sources.

In fact, if you look at the Reds bullpen top bullpen options for the upcoming year, they look like this:

CORDERO - Signed as a FA
MASSET - Acquired via trade for the walking corpse of Ken Griffey Jr.
ONDRUSEK - Drafted (13th rd) and developed by Reds
BURTON - Rule V draftee
BRAY - Acquired via trade as part of the Kearns/Lopez deal.
SMITH - Drafted (6th rd) and developed by the Reds
WILLIS - Signed as a minor-league FA
ARREDONDO - Signed as a rehab-project FA
FISHER - Drafted (11th rd) and developed by the Reds
LeCURE - Drafted (4th rd) and developed by the Reds

From that list of names, you can create a very solid bullpen. The majority of them were produced by the farm system via the process of sifting through starters and moving the less effective ones to the bullpen (the "failed starter" term used earlier in the discussion). Others were dumpster dives that turned into gold, some were the result of good trading, and the top man (Cordero) was a high-dollar FA.

Point being: You can build a bullpen in a lot of ways. The worst way to build a bullpen is to take a guy who can help your ballclub in other ways and force him into a bullpen role.

Second Issue: The "need" for a shut-down guy in the bullpen or the "need" to have someone in-waiting for Francisco Cordero.

To me, this issue reeks of overthinking -- looking at the situation and saying "well, of course I want someone who can come in and get 3 key outs to protect lead every time he comes in" instead of focusing on the real issue: having a lead to protect in the first place. Give me the guy who turns a lead over to the bullpen 30 times per year, and let me work the waiver wire, FA pool and farm system to find guys to get the last 2 or 3 innings done.

This becomes especially true when you've built a team that knocks the ball around the way the Reds do. They aren't a team constructed to eek out 2-1 wins -- they're a team constructed to drop 4-5 runs on a nightly basis. Give me the guy who's going to hold the other team scoreless for 6 or 7 and leave an impossibly large mountain to climb for the other guys.

As far as Cordero goes -- I like having a good closer as much as the next guy, but I'm also aware that Saves can come from anywhere. David Weathers had 33 of the things in 2007 on his last legs as a pitcher. It's an overrated stat. The Reds have 3 or 4 guys (Cordero, Masset, Ondrusek, Smith) who could competently close games if they were given the role and allowed to perform, IMO.

Plus, let's be real about how "awful" Francisco Cordero really was. He had 48 save opps last year and blew 8 of them. How much of an improvement would Alrodis Chapman be in that role? History tells us that even the best closers blow saves -- Brian Wilson blew 5 in 53 attempts for the Giants last year, Heath Bell blew 3 in 50 attempts, even the allmighty Mariano Rivera averages around 4 blown saves per year over the last 10 years of his career. So, really, we're talking about, maybe a 3-4 game improvement by putting in Chapman over Cordero.

Ask yourself -- is that improvement worth what you potentially lose by keeping him away from the rotation? Is that improvement worth losing the possibility of a true, top of the rotation starter to match up against an opponent in Game 1 of a post-season series? Because, really, the simple reality is that the Reds closer "problem" never mattered in the playoffs -- they were dominated by superior starting pitching (which they couldn't match) and never handed the ball to their closer once.

And really, what's the worst case scenario for all this? They give him a chance to start and he can't hack it -- and he goes to the bullpen anyway. Why accept the worst case scenario right from the start?

dunner13
01-30-2011, 03:02 PM
Heres an off the wall idea, start chapman in the pen. If the pen is doing pretty well, in July start stretching Chapman out. Have him pitch 3-4 innings every 4 or 5 days. Then in August put him in the rotation. At that point he might only be around 60-70 innings and he could go strong for the rest of the season and hopefully into the playoffs.

mth123
01-30-2011, 03:09 PM
Chapman is used as a reliever in the Goose Gossage mode of being that arm used in the toughest situations, regardless of inning or length, for this season. This should get him over 100 innings. Then he is stretched out in the offseason to be the #5 starter in 2012. This would limit his innings to around 150. He should then be set to start full time in 2013.

I could go for that. I've just reached a point of wanting the Reds to win right now (and win means more than the fringey division title with virtually no hope of advancing in the post season like last year). IMO, Chapman is an impact arm. I'm against any plan that sends him to AAA even though I do believe in building innings as a rule. .

WebScorpion
01-30-2011, 03:11 PM
Two points:

2. I completely disagree that Chapman is years away from developing into a starter. In fact I think he is ready right now to be an effective #4-5 starter in the majors. He clearly has the stuff. He just needs more experience, and getting used to being a MLB pitcher. So here is what I would like to see happen:


I agree with this. I think in any season prior to 2010, Chapman would have been our #5 starter. The only thing that allows him to develop in AAA as he should is the abundance of quality starters ahead of him in the organization. He is still the youngest pitcher in Spring Training...he's younger than Leake or Donnie Joseph. :eek: Coddle him. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-gen154.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php)

remdog
01-30-2011, 04:27 PM
Two points:

I completely disagree that Chapman is years away from developing into a starter. In fact I think he is ready right now to be an effective #4-5 starter in the majors. He clearly has the stuff. He just needs more experience, and getting used to being a MLB pitcher. So here is what I would like to see happen:

Chapman is used as a reliever in the Goose Gossage mode of being that arm used in the toughest situations, regardless of inning or length, for this season. This should get him over 100 innings. Then he is stretched out in the offseason to be the #5 starter in 2012. This would limit his innings to around 150. He should then be set to start full time in 2013.

Yep, I'd concur with that. Don't forget that this kid was a first baseman until he was 16; he's just learning the craft. He can help the Reds right now, one or two innings at a time. In the meantime he gets MLB coaching, experience and, as the season goes on, the Reds can stretch him out more and more if they see fit.

Rem

cincrazy
01-30-2011, 05:07 PM
My feelings on this issue are well documented elsewhere, and not really worth re-hashing in full.

I simply don't think the value of middle relief compares, in any way, to the value of starting pitching. Having a "hammer" to shorten games is great, but it's absolutely nothing compared to the value of a "hammer" to start them. So long as Chapman has the potential to be the latter, they're wasting their time trying to make him the former.

The Phillies aren't the Phillies because of Brad Lidge -- they're the Phillies because of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. And, shockingly, I don't think the New York Yankees would be any less dominant in the late 90s / early 00's if Mariano Rivera had decided to take up cricket instead of baseball -- Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens would've done just fine with any number of people closing games for them.

Good bullpen pitching is available from any number of sources. The Reds minor leagues has pushed through several quality relievers the last few years (including Ondrusek and Smith last year). They acquired Nick Masset for a broken-down guy who used to be Ken Griffey Jr. and got Jared Burton for $50k and a few signed forms. And, if all else fails in the minors, a solid reliever usually runs between $1m and $4m per year in Free Agency.

Chapman has an electric arm, throws more than two pitches, and is left handed. Don't banish talent like that to the bullpen when you can fix any BP problems (which don't exist, mind you -- the Reds are in fantastic bullpen shape even w/o Chapman there) so easily by other means.

Agree with most of what you write... except when it comes to Mariano Rivera. If he plays cricket instead of baseball, and John Doe is closing for the Yankees, I highly doubt they win four championships. Maybe they get a couple, but it's not the dynasty they turned out to be.

This conversation works both ways. For years the Braves would throw Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz out there and say "Man, if we ONLY had a dominant closer."

I want Chapman where he's most effective. If that's as a starter, hell yes, give me the ace. But if he's nothing more than above average as a starter, give me a dominant, lockdown, intimidating closer.

WVRedsFan
01-30-2011, 05:16 PM
I'm getting in on this late, and for that I apologize, but I tend to agree with Caveat and Doug -- He is far too valuable to be a bullpen pitcher with his talent. I think he will have to move to the rotation for any other these reasons:

1. With his talent, he won't stick around here to mop up or save. The big money (unless your name is Co-Co) isn't in the bullpen. His agent will point that out.
2. JMO, but someday, the Reds will have to come to grips with the fact that Valquez will never ever be consistent enough to count on as a TOR starter. Same with Cueto. Unless those two guys grow up and get a handle on it, you'll have to turn to Chapman for that need.
3. He's just that one injury away from becoming just another pitcher. I'd hate to see that happen while he was mired in the Reds bullpen.

These are just my thoughts.

kaldaniels
01-30-2011, 05:31 PM
Cueto and Volquez are never going to be TOR guys, and you are turning to Chapman for that need?

I haven't given up on those two guys yet, and I think you may be counting chickens regarding Aroldis.

And I'm a guy wanting Chapman to start.

WVRedsFan
01-30-2011, 05:55 PM
Cueto and Volquez are never going to be TOR guys, and you are turning to Chapman for that need?

I haven't given up on those two guys yet, and I think you may be counting chickens regarding Aroldis.

And I'm a guy wanting Chapman to start.Of course you are correct. Probably none of the three will TOR guys. Time will tell on that. I was talkiing TORR - top of Reds rotation, a position now held by one Bronson Arroyo.

Scrap Irony
01-30-2011, 08:14 PM
Two points:

2. I completely disagree that Chapman is years away from developing into a starter. In fact I think he is ready right now to be an effective #4-5 starter in the majors. He clearly has the stuff. He just needs more experience, and getting used to being a MLB pitcher. So here is what I would like to see happen:

Chapman is used as a reliever in the Goose Gossage mode of being that arm used in the toughest situations, regardless of inning or length, for this season. This should get him over 100 innings. Then he is stretched out in the offseason to be the #5 starter in 2012. This would limit his innings to around 150. He should then be set to start full time in 2013.

This is what I've been advocating since the announcement of Chapman to the pen. If used properly, he should not only be an asset, but one that no one else in the league has. (With apologies to San Diego.)