The flame throwing phenom enters Reds camp with a set position and a level of comfortability. Dusty Baker’s plan is to slot Chapman in a setup role behind closer Francisco Cordero, putting to rest any rumors of Aroldis entering the starting rotation or perhaps supplanting Cordero in 2011.
Analysis: The young Cuban defector set radar guns ablaze in his brief Major League stint in 2010, consistently cracking 100 MPH and peaking at a record-breaking 105 MPH in San Diego. This historical fastball, combined with an above average slider and decent changeup, gives Chapman an enviable arsenal and a potentially limitless future. The key word here for Fantasy owners is future, however, as the 6’4″ lefty’s current spot on the depth chart is the 8th inning and as a lefty specialist, a role he may even share with fellow southpaw Bill Bray.
Projection: While Fantasy owners drool over the prospect of Chapman starting games as he did at AAA, don’t expect it to happen this season. The Reds have no rush to transition their prized arm into the rotation, especially because of a balky back he first experienced last spring. They also have more of a need for him in the bullpen at this point, with the offseason departure of Arthur Rhodes leaving a significant hole. In addition, Baker has stated on more than one occasion that he’d like to limit Chapman to an inning per appearance. Unless Cordero hits the DL at some point this year, the most you can expect from Chapman are a respectable amount of holds and an above-average number of strikeouts for a setup man. Nevertheless, this is someone who will undoubtedly amass monster numbers one day, whether it be in the 9th inning or every fifth day.