Aroldis Chapman remains a work in progress

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Thumbnail image for Aroldis Chapman.jpgAroldis Chapman started for Louisville last night and via this scouting report from FanHouse’s Frankie Piliere, he still has some work to do before he’s going to make it to the bigs.

Two issues, really. The first was his velocity. While it took Chapman a while to get up to full speed on a cold night, he eventually did hit the high 90s by the middle innings and even reached 100 twice.  But then he fell off pretty rapidly, leading Piliere to conclude that “it could be that Chapman was trying to pace himself, but didn’t quite
know how.”

But the bigger problem may have been his command. Piliere says that none of Chapman’s secondary pitches were working for him last night, allowing hitters to sit dead-red. Which they did, and which Chapman threw over the heart of the plate too often, leading to two homers allowed.

The overall line wasn’t bad — 6IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 4Ks — but to at least one scout’s eyes, it was not a ready for prime time performance.  You have to figure that the Reds — who have an incentive to keep Willis Chapman down on the farm a while anyway — probably saw the same things.

(Willis? Man, I have no idea. Long day I guess).

MLB may introduce “tacky” baseballs in 2018

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.

They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.

As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.

Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.

Here we go: Tim Tebow reports to Mets camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets speaks at a press conference after a work out at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.

Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.

The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.

In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: