Q. Okay, so Strasburg and Lincecum were field-tested as 22nd-century weapons and they laid the battlefields waste in live drills. Chapman hasn't.
But Chapman still has a 100 fastball.
A. The videos I've seen, Aroldis Chapman sits 91-94 mph.
Q. Um, what?
A. Chapman throws 94. Not 100. He throws Brett Anderson velocity.
Q. Care to hedge that statement?
A. CAVEAT: I wouldn't doubt that ML scouts have had days when they saw the lad touch 98, maybe even 100. (Against Japan in San Diego, he reportedly had at least one pitch clock 100.)
And maybe there were days when Chapman hit 98-100 for six pitches in a row.
And maybe these days were real recent (Chapman claims to be very young and the best Chapman vids are a little dated). :- ) If so, then we have a different conversation -- though Chapman wouldn't be Stephen Strasburg.
But I doubt that Chapman sits high-90's the way that Strasburg does, or even the way that Morrow and Lincecum do / did.
Take a LH who throws 91-94 touching 97, and how many of those guys are there? Matt Thornton, Brett Anderson, you could name a dozen guys who weren't Stephen Strasburg.
Aroldis' stuff looks more Philippe Aumont-level to me. Is Aumont a Stephen Strasburg? Guys have great arms. That makes them great prospects, of which they're around.
Q. What's that graphic leading off the article?
A. The very fine website Beyond the Boxscore has an article arguing that Chapman's fastball would be among the best in the majors.
Trouble is, they remove several "misidentified" pitches to bump the velo up to Morrow velocity. If you're going to do that, shouldn't you throw out the bottom 10%, 20% of the other guys' fastballs as well?
But don't get me wrong. Aroldis Chapman has an overpowering fastball. So do Sabathia, Anderson at times, Kershaw, Lester and a lot of guys.
And of course a 95 fastball coming lefthanded has a real good chance of a great pitch value, too. Ramirez is a top prospect.
Andrew Miller is real long, with great stuff. Is he Stephen Strasburg? Are you going to make him your franchise?
Q. Any other slops?
A. His windup, before the "top", is the worst mess you've ever seen.
He's fast on the backstroke one time. He's slow the next. He leans way back one time. He leans back moderately the next. His tempo is always different. He's way off balance. He never takes the same centerline twice.
Without a trace of exaggeration, Aroldis' windup is worse than most high school pitchers'.
The good news is, it's just unbalanced and erratic. I don't see Taro's "inverted W" or any other gears grinding in there. It's just a real stupid windup.
Q. Okay, that's quite a list. What about the makeup?
A. Cross one part Terrell Owens with one part Yuniesky Betancourt and you'll about have the picture.
Q. Have you ever met the guy?
A. Only through his YouTube T.O. interviews, the body language on the mound, the 9,000 complaints that he's childish on the field, and the track record of Cuban ballplayers generally.
Aroldis actually looks like T.O. facially, goes for T.O. glasses and bling, has the T.O. self-delighted grin, and answers questions in a way that does T.O. proud ("People don't know me yet, but I'm looking to people getting to know me, and the more they know me the more madly they'll fall in love with me" type stuff).
Cross that with the Betancourt-type work ethic, as Aroldis hits the huge paycheck, and I'm not putting his makeup down as "plus" here. :- )
I don't insist on Steve Largent makeup, but for a kid out of Cuba to be a full-blown narcissist already, the makeup becomes a big (negative) factor.
This guy has huge problems with his windup, problems that absolutely have to be fixed, and if he's blowing away minor-league hitters, how interested is he going to be in listening to a minor-league coach?
That translates to a longer, rather than shorter, arrival time.
Q. So you'd steer clear.
A. I'd have drafted him #3 in the 2009 amateur draft.
As one scout said, "I like him, but as a prospect. Not as a major-league-ready pitcher." That'll do for us too.
He'd throw a consistent 98 in the rotation. His mechanical problems are pretty similar; note the lean-back and the wild splays of the hands and feet.
Chapman could very well win 300 games in the bigs.
If you haven't seen part III to this, our take was (1) we stupidly presumed that the scouts were exaggerating, (2) even presuming that, Chapman was a #3-5 in the ammy draft if he were in that, and (3) $30M would be fair for him.
The Reds are going to be awfully glad they spent that dough.
the slider looks nasty.
he's going to be good.