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).

Report: Chris Tillman will decide on a team this week

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Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.

Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.

While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.