Aroldis Chapman will make his U.S. professional debut with Triple-A Louisville on Sunday, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. His first start will be on the road against the Toledo Mudhens, though he’ll undoubtedly be quite the gate attraction no matter where he pitches.
Chapman made his unofficial debut with the Reds during spring training, compiling a a 1.69 ERA and a 15/7 K/BB ratio over 10 2/3 innings. He was running neck and neck with Travis Wood and 2009 first-round pick Mike Leake for the fifth starter gig until he experienced muscle spasms in his lower back towards the end of the exhibition schedule.
The back issue was probably a blessing in disguise, anyway, as the Reds stand to save millions in the long run if they keep Chapman in the minors through Memorial Day. They’ll probably need the extra cash to pay Leake, since they have already decided to start his arbitration clock.