Chapman pitching for the Cincinnati Reds in 2011
|Cincinnati Reds – No. 54|
February 28, 1988 |
Holguín Province, Cuba
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|August 31, 2010 for the Cincinnati Reds|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||2.40|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Competitor for Cuba|
|Pan American Games|
|Gold||2007 Rio de Janeiro||Team|
|Baseball World Cup|
Albertin Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz (born February 28, 1988) is a Cuban-Andorran 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.
As of May 2013[update], he holds the record for the fastest recorded pitch speed in MLB history, after throwing a 105.1 mph (169.1 km/h) fastball in 2010. He was also clocked by one radar gun at 106 mph (173.3 km/h) in a later game, although this speed is disputed.
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.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2009)|
Chapman joined the Holguín Sabuesos of the Cuban National Series in 2006. In 3272⁄3 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.
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.
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. Gerardo Concepción defected from the Cuban national team in the same tournament. Chapman eventually established residency in Andorra and petitioned the MLB to be granted free agent status.
On January 10, 2010, Chapman agreed to a long-term contract with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds announced that they had signed Chapman to a six-year contract, worth $30.25 million according to MLB sources. The Associated Press reported that the bonus totals $16.25 million, paid annually over 11 years, with an additional bonus if he becomes eligible for salary arbitration in 2012 or 2013.
Chapman began the 2010 season assigned to the Triple-A Louisville Bats, and made his professional debut with the Louisville Bats on Sunday, April 11, in Toledo against the Mud Hens, where he pitched 4 2⁄3 innings, giving up 1 unearned run, while striking out 9. 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.
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. He recorded his first major league win on September 1 after pitching an inning of relief against the Brewers. 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. 
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.
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.
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. Interim closer Sean Marshall struggled early in the season, and Chapman was given the closer role in late May.
On July 1, 2012 Chapman was named to his first All-Star Game. 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 1⁄3 innings while striking out 31 batters — more than 60% of the batters he faced. 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. Chapman finished the 2012 season with a 1.51 ERA and 38 saves in 43 chances, recording 122 strikeouts and 23 walks in 71 2⁄3 innings.
On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, Chapman was hit in the head by a line drive by Kansas City's Salvador Perez. 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.
Chapman currently throws two pitches: a four-seam fastball at 96–103 mph and a hard slider at 87–91 mph. Chapman's heater averaged 100.3 mph in 2010, but that declined to 98.6 in 2011 and 97.8 through August 2012. This more modest speed may be part of an attempt to better control his fastball.
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[update], second all-time to Craig Kimbrel, and the third-highest career percentage of pitches for swinging strikes (16.5%).
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. However, Chapman's control seems to have improved. After issuing 41 walks in 50 innings the previous season, Chapman only walked 23 batters in 2012 over 71.2 innings.
According to MLB scouts, Chapman's fastball has been clocked as high as 105 mph (170 km/h) (during the 2010 minor league season), 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 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.
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." 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.
When Chapman defected, he left his father, mother, two sisters, girlfriend, Raidelmis Mendosa Santiestelas, and newborn baby, Ashanti Brianna. 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."
- List of Major League Baseball players from Cuba
- List of baseball players who defected from Cuba
- Cincinnati Reds award winners and league leaders
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- Retrieved on 2009-07-02.[dead link]
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- By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com (April 9, 2010). "Watch Chapman's US debut on Sunday | reds.com: News". Cincinnati.reds.mlb.com. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
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- [dead link]
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- "Aroldis Chapman to stay closer". ESPN.com. Associated Press. March 22, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "Reds' Chapman 'lucky' to have only broken bone". aol.com. March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Albertin Aroldis Chapman". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
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- "Major League Leaderboards » 2012 » Pitchers » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs. Retrieved August 14, 2012. Data goes back to 2002 season. Minimum 100 innings pitched.
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- Arangure, Jorge (March 15, 2009). "Cuba might be team to beat: Chapman, powerful lineup make Cubans a strong WBC contender". ESPN.com.
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- Passan, Jeff (April 19, 2011). "Chapman's 106-mph fastball was likely bogus". Sports.Yahoo.com. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- [dead link]
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- "A. Chapman piensa en Grandes Ligas para el 2010". Mlb.mlb.com. November 13, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- "Chapman reportedly being sued for $18M | reds.com: News". MLB.com. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- 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