21-year old Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman has agreed to a six-year deal worth $30.25 million with the Cincinnati Reds. Chapman is a highly regarding left-handed pitching prospect with a fastball that reached triple digits during the World Baseball Classic. He threw 6.1 innings in the WBC striking out eight while walking four and allowing six hits.
Chapman is extremely raw and has only been pitching for a few years, however, his overpowering and impressive velocity and stuff has scouts drooling. As it stands right now he is more of a thrower than a pitcher. He does not have the poise or secondary pitches that one might expect from a $30 million dollar pitcher but he has the potential to develop into a dominant pitching force. He held a workout in Houston in December in which he flashed an above-average slider in addition to his fastball. His third pitch, a change-up, is a major work in progress and must be developed further. Chapman’s command has come under scrutiny but his immense potential and project-ability had garnered notice from nearly every team.
The Reds were considered a bit of a dark-horse candidate considering their need to cut payroll this year. They managed to outbid the Red Sox, Angels, and Blue Jays among other clubs. The Cuban defector is not considered to be major league ready. He will likely require at least a year, possibly more, in the minor leagues to become a more polished and complete pitcher. The Reds will have to be patient with his development, particularly because he does not speak English and will probably face a steep learning curve playing baseball everyday in the U.S. This is a steep investment for the Reds organization but with time and effort they may have just landed a future ace.