Aroldis Chapman and Stephen Strasburg were often mentioned in the same breath this spring, but it’s become pretty clear that the Cuban left-hander isn’t anywhere near as polished as last year’s No 1 pick.
Chapman was hammered for a career-high eight runs over just 3 1/3 innings in an outing for Triple-A Louisville on Friday night, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. He has a 9.64 ERA over three starts this month after posting a 1.29 ERA over his first four professional starts in April.
Chapman is lighting up the radar gun with regularity — averaging 10.5 K/9 along the way — but he simply doesn’t have a great idea of the strike zone yet. He has walked at least four batters in three out of his seven starts and has issued 21 free passes in just 35 innings, good enough for an average of 5.4 BB/9. He remains an impressive raw talent, but he’ll have to overcome his command issues before the Reds even think of bringing him to the major leagues.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.