And he didn’t even need Brandon Phillips’ car to do it.
That’s right, Aroldis Chapman topped out at 105 mph in a relief appearance with Triple-A Louisville on Friday night. Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse had it first, though it was repeated by Buster Olney of ESPN.com and Peter Gammons of MLB Network and NESN this morning.
According to Price, Chapman “sat at” 103 mph on his fastball and also threw a slider in the 90-91 mph range. One scout told Price that it was “the best fastball I have ever witnessed.” With consistent heat like that, it’s no surprise to learn that he struck out the side in last night’s appearance.
Chapman has thrived since moving to a relief role, posting a 2.40 ERA and 49/12 K/BB ratio over 30 innings. As a reliever, he has held opposing batters to a .156 batting average and allowed just one home run.
He’s expected to be promoted to the major leagues as soon as rosters expand on September 1, so we should see his major league debut in just a few short days. I’m thinking a few of us might be interested in checking that one out.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.