The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Monday, May 14, 2012

Walt Jocketty is either a genius or an idiot. Or how to properly use Aroldis Chapman.

So many people have realized or stated publicly that Aroldis Chapman may likely be the best pitcher in baseball at the moment. However, as he has the previous two years, he is not pitching in the starting rotation but is pitching out of the bullpen. At first I was livid that the Reds would continue to waste his talents in the bullpen as opposed to using him as a starter. However, Reds TV guy Chris Welsh had a really interesting point the other day. He stated that the Reds are aware that Chapman can only pitch a limited number of innings in 2012 above what he pitched in 2011. Because of this, instead of "wasting" innings pitched in triple-A, the Reds have decided to limit his innings by having him pitch out of the bullpen. In 2012 Chapman has pitched only 17.2 innings to date. In all of 2011 he pitched 50 innings. Typically a pitcher should only pitch approximately 30 more innings from one year to the next. Thus, Chapman's pitch limit in 2012 will be about 80 innings. If he continues to pitch out of the bullpen for the next few months of the season he should probably have around 50-60 innings. Then at that point we could turn him into a starter and should be able to get an additional 4 or 5 quality starts out of him. Those 4 or 5 starts will hopefully be exactly what the Reds need to propel them into the playoffs. Actually, I hope they don't need his starts to get into the playoffs, and can slowly stretch him out so he makes his starts late into the year and really hits his stride in the playoffs! Or, the Reds may keep him in the bullpen all year. If that is the case I am not going to be happy.


Kevin said...

I like the idea and agree with it in theory. However, it's not super easy to go from being in the bullpen to starting. There's a difference mentally and physically, and preparation is a lot different too. So the Reds will need to be cautious, because they may not get what they are planning for. On the other hand, they could be a bunch of friggin' geniuses.

Teddy said...

I think the Reds are truly ALL-IN for 2012. As a result, I think Chapman needs to be counted on as a starter for the stretch run and playoffs. Colin's post is similar to the word on the street here in Cincy, as most think the Reds are trying to save innings for Chappy.

I think we can expect a lot more than Colin suggests though. The increased innings benchmark that Colin quotes is really nebulous, and usually applies to young starters. I don't think you can use that for a reliever switching into the rotation.

I think the Reds are waiting to be forced to make a move in the rotation, and Leake is pushing the issue right now. If a starter goes down, Chapman may be in. If not, I think he will bump somebody after the All-Star break.

I also fully expect a big trade before the deadline. The Reds CLEARLY NEED a cleanup hitter. Someone should become available - a lot of talk about Youkilis right now.