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.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.