2013 Reds

Chapman starts today [Updated with Price quotes]

The Reds squad is split today. Mike Leake is starting at a home game in Goodyear vs. the Diamondbacks. Aroldis Chapman takes the mound in Scottsdale against the Colorado Rockies. Chapman is scheduled to pitch two innings. Here’s the lineup behind him, courtesy of Mark Sheldon:

Paul 7
Phillips 4
Heisey 9
Soto 3
Hannahan 5
Phipps 8
Cozart 6
Olivo 2
Ashley DH

Chapman 1

Also pitching for the Reds are J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra and Logan Ondrusek, setting up an interesting early comparison between candidates for the scarce bullpen slots.

For those in the listening area, the game is being broadcast on AM-1360 WSAI Cincinnati.

UPDATE: Chapman pitched two perfect innings. John Fay just reported that Chapman threw mostly off-speed pitches.

Chapman threw mostly off speed stuff. Three pitches registered below 80 on stadium scoreboard. His top fastball was only 94.

Fay also has some quotes from Bryan Price about how they will handle Chapman’s innings limits:

“We have our history with Mike Leake and what we did with him to try to prevent him from getting too much too soon that first year,” pitching coach Bryan Price said. “We have the experience that some of the other teams have used with starters in regards to work load — either guys coming off injury or out of the bullpen. We have the (Stephen) Strasberg too-much, too-soon situation.

“I think the thing that I want to avoid — we can answer questions all year — but you find yourself in a corner when you sit there and say: ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ Then you realize that a guy might be capable of doing a little bit more or you may need to shut him down a little earlier.

“What messages do you send if you do either one? He’s hurt or they’re overextending him? I just feel like to myself personally, we have an understanding what we’re going do with him and that’s what we’re going to do. We not going to set ourselves up to be scrutinized by everybody in baseball.”

Interesting stuff. Sounds like they have a plan in mind, but don’t want to describe it in detail publicly. My faith in Price is rock-solid.

35 thoughts on “Chapman starts today [Updated with Price quotes]

  1. @Brian Van Hook: Agreed. Looks like he might get squeezed out by Manny Parra. Hoover had better stats against LH hitters (.120/.207/.220) than Parra did last year (.229/.323/.312). Crazy-small sample sizes, but still. Sometimes the better pitcher is just preferable to the match-up. But our manager has to have two LHP in the bullpen, no matter how mediocre the second one is. Hopefully, Parra will rally and be much improved for the Reds.

  2. 6 up and 6 down for Chapaman. Only one K?? Whats wrong with Chapman?? The experiment is a failure. Send him back to the bullpen. lol.

  3. @WVRedlegs: Doesn’t even sound like the grounders are hit very hard. Nice to see, even it is still February. ……. Leake had 3Ks in two innings in Goodyear. Gave up a run to Arizona, Simon pitching now. Dusty “getting him going” for when he pitches for the Dominican Republic in the exhibition baseball tournament

  4. This start brings up something I’ve been thinking about: How closely will the Reds be monitoring pitch counts vs. innings limits with Chapman?

    What I mean is, if they cap Chapman at 150IP, is that going to be a straight cap, or if he goes out and has a few 6 pitch innings in a game, will they let him off the leash a little without having it count towards his cap.

    I’ve read several pitchers and pitching coaches talk about how pitch counts aren’t everything and innings limits aren’t everything, because some innings are harder than others etc.

    It will be interested to see what they do with him, because I can see a lot of very quick innings for him when he’s on.

  5. I’m still not totally sure why everyone fell in love with JJ Hoover so fast. He has a live fastball, granted, but he only pitched 30 innings and even a quick check under the hood raises some major red flags.

    Of Reds pitchers with at least 20IP last year:

    His walk rate was 3rd highest (3.82/9IP)
    His BABIP was lowest (.195)
    His groundball rate was lowest (23.7%)
    His HR per flyball rate was second lowest (4.7%)

    I’m not saying he’s going to be terrible or anything, and he’s certainly in the mix for a spot. But what I see is a guy who puts a good amount of guys on base by walk, who got very lucky with balls in play, gets very few groundballs in a HR friendly park, and got pretty lucky on keeping flyballs in said park.

    It doesn’t seem like a recipe for success to me.

  6. @al:
    We’re waiting on Richard Fitch’s Part 2 on Chapman and then the real discussion will get under way.
    As for Hoover, I think you may under-estimate him. He may very well be the closer by the time September rolls around. If he gets those BB’s down his ERA will decrease also. Walt made a steal on Hoover. Be patient. I like Hoover alot. Read up on him as he progressed through the Braves system. Lots of good things said about him. The Braves were busting at the seams with pitchers and the Braves were really not pushing to trade Hoover. WJ did his homework.

    The Brewers racing sausage costume has been returned. Not MIA any longer. All is good now in the world.

    • Not that I like seeing it against the Reds but a triple play is kinda cool.

      We lost in the state semifinals on a triple play. Would have been a 2 rbi game ending hit, instead we got tripled off haha.

  7. I also really like Hoover and don’t think sending him back to AAA will do him any good since he was so dominant last year. I would take him on the roster over Ondrusek any day.

    • I also really like Hoover and don’t think sending him back to AAA will do him any good since he was so dominant last year. I would take him on the roster over Ondrusek any day.

      @athensRed: I think you are right that Hoover is better than Ondrusek (not that Logan is bad), but Logan is established and that does mean something in the bigs.

  8. @WVRedlegs: Again, for a guy like Janish, I have no problem with getting Hoover. But look at his career average on balls in play:
    .341
    .222
    .299
    .350
    .300
    .262
    .195

    Does that look like a guy who consistantly supresses batting average? To me it looks like a guy with a lot of random variance in how many balls in play turn into outs. And last year was his luckiest ever.

    Even if you assume that he’s going to kep giving up very few HRs while giving up a ton of flyballs (very rare and tougher in a small park), you still have to assume that he’s going to give up more hits next year. Expecting that he will repeat his luckiest year with no evidence that it’s a trend would be silly.

    Most of the projection systems have his ERA in the low to mid-3s, and I think that’s about right. It doesn’t make him bad, but it’s hardly spectacular for a reliever.

  9. Hamilton enters the game as pinch runner in sixth inning for Xavier Paul. Hamilton was picked off yesterday. I guess they have to put him in this way to see his SB skills since he’s been having trouble getting on base.

  10. @Jared: Yes, split-squad games are pretty common in spring training when rosters are so big. They are a good way to get everyone some playing time.

    • Chapman showed once again that he can pitch an inning or two – good job!

      Ha! Good one.

      But you have to admit it’s good to see him pitching in the 70s and getting guys out.

      • Ha! Good one.

        But you have to admit it’s good to see him pitching in the 70s and getting guys out.

        Yep, getting guys out with something other than the fastball was nice and promising. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s something he can keep up two or three times through the batting order though. Also how well he mixes in the breaking pitches, maybe the hitters today were expecting all 100mph fastballs and were caught off-guard. It’s a game of adjustments and it’ll be interesting to see how hitters adjust in the remainder of spring training.

  11. Jason Donald had a big day, 3 hits raising his average to .385. I don’t care to look up numbers but I thought it was .100 yesterday. Even with small sample sizes it’s nice to do well. At least he looks like the clear frontrunner again over Izturis (.308 average) and Burriss (.333)

    Mesoraco got another hit, his average is now .286 on the spring vs 200 for Olivo.

    JJ Hoover, it seems like everyone wants him to make the bullpen on opening day but I wouldn’t bet on that happening quite yet. I don’t think sending him to AAA would do any good for him… but he has options and could get sent out anyway.

    Josh Ravin has been pounded in two consecutive appearances, when are the first round of cuts?

    • JJ Hoover, it seems like everyone wants him to make the bullpen on opening day but I wouldn’t bet on that happening quite yet.I don’t think sending him to AAA would do any good for him… but he has options and could get sent out anyway.

      When a team is as set as this one is, with as high of expectations as this one has, options & contracts are going to be the determining factor in more cases than usual.

      • When a team is as set as this one is, with as high of expectations as this one has, options & contracts are going to be the determining factor in more cases than usual.

        And it’s important to recognize that being optioned to AAA isn’t a permanent thing. If Hoover gets sent down on opening day he could be back before long if somebody else struggles. Todd Frazier, I believe, started last year in Louisville before putting together his big season. In hindsight it seemed like he was with the Reds all year.

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