After hitting 102.7 mph in debut, Aroldis Chapman throws 103.9 mph in second appearance

9 Comments

Aroldis Chapman made jaws drop in his MLB debut earlier this week by averaging 100.3 miles per hour on six fastballs and topping out at 102.7 mph, which tied for the highest velocity ever recorded during three seasons of MLB.com’s Pitch-F/X system.
Or at least it was the highest.
Chapman made his second appearance last night, picking up his first career victory with a scoreless inning against the Brewers, and topped out at 103.9 mph. Seriously. He also threw a pitch at 103.8 mph and averaged 102.1 mph on seven fastballs, Yes, averaged 102.1 mph.
Chapman has thrown 13 fastballs so far at an average velocity of 101.3 miles per hour. To put that in some context, here are the highest average fastball velocities since 2007:
2010: Joel Zumaya – 99.3 mph
2009: Joel Zumaya – 99.3 mph
2008: Joel Zumaya – 97.5 mph
2007: Joel Zumaya – 97.5 mph
In other words, no one throws this hard. Chapman’s career is exactly two innings long at this point, yet he’s already thrown the three fastest pitches in Pitch-F/X history and his average velocity makes the previous king of hard-throwers, Joel Zumaya, look like Jamie Moyer.
Oh, and Chapman’s high-80s slider is nasty as hell too. He threw it four times last night and got three swinging strikes. I’m really not sure how someone would go about having success against a 101-mph fastball and wicked 87-mph slider. I guess the answer is “they wouldn’t.”
As the Reds pull further and further ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central it looks more and more like Chapman could have some Francisco Rodriguez-in-2002 potential in the playoffs.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Getty Images
6 Comments

Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.