Aroldis Chapman: A left-handed Strasburg
Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Feedback | Print Entry
The most intense bidding of the winter will not be over Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. It will not be John Lackey who is going to have the most bidders frothing after him.
No, it will be Aroldis Chapman, the 21-year-old pitcher who reportedly defected from Cuba while traveling with the national team in the Netherlands.
To put his talent in perspective: Some evaluators view Chapman as a left-handed Stephen Strasburg. "He's pretty special," said one official.
He has a fastball clocked at 101 or 102 MPH, and a plus curveball and plus slider, to use the scouts' vernacular.
But unlike Strasburg, his market will not be restricted to the one team that drafted him. It may be about six months before his situation is settled to the point where teams will be able to make bids. But when that can happen, you can expect a Daisuke Matsuzaka-like feeding frenzy to ensue.
Jose Contreras signed a $32 million deal with the Yankees earlier this decade, but he was much older than Chapman. Matsuzaka was 25-years-old when the Boston Red Sox committed $103 million in a posting fee and contract to sign him. Chapman's situation is incredibly unique, because he's so young, so talented -- all of his best years presumably in front of him -- and so well known among evaluators.