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.
We seem to get a story like this from a struggling team every couple of years. This year it’s the Twins and the story is about words said by one of the Twins players to Fox Sports North broadcaster Dick Bremer. From Mike McFeely of WDAY radio, who spoke to Bremer recently:
Surprisingly, Bremer said one player has confronted him this season about being too critical of the team. Bremer wouldn’t name the player.
“I make it a practice to go in the clubhouse every day and go down on the field, so if a player has a complaint about something I’ve said on television they have that opportunity,” Bremer said. “I was confronted in the clubhouse in the last homestand. I didn’t say what I wanted to say, which was, ‘Well, play better and the commentary will be more positive.’ You can’t mask the fact this team is a quarter of the way through the season with 10 wins.”
The whole article is interesting because it gives several examples of Bremer and his colleague, Bert Blyleven, being critical. Depending on which instance — and there were likely many not mentioned here — blowback from players may have more or less justification.
On the one hand, simply saying a player executed a given play poorly or saying that the team was performing poorly is a simple fact. On the other, an example was given in which Blyleven questioned why Phil Hughes was taken out of a game. It was only later revealed that he was experiencing shoulder soreness, but it was suggested that Blyelven was questioning his toughness at the moment. I agree with Bremer that if the players don’t want to be criticized they should play better. But it crosses a line in my mind when poor play is used to imply poor or weak character, especially when not all facts are known. Not all situations are the same.
Overall, though, despite the complaint of this anonymous Twins player, I think local broadcasts are too deferential to the home team far too often. The broadcasters have seen more baseball than almost every viewer and in many cases played it. I don’t think it’s out of line for them to offer objective, informed criticism of bad play even if that’s out of fashion in today’s world. That they seem very clearly pressured by the clubs with whom their employers are partnered to do otherwise is a shame and does a disservice to viewers.
And heck. It’s boring too.
The Pirates have announced that starter Ryan Vogelsong has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to facial fractures.
Vogelsong suffered the fractures yesterday afternoon when he was batting and was hit by a pitch by Colorado Rockies starter Jordan Lyles. Vogelsong, was taken off the field on a cart and admitted to a local hospital. A.J. Schugel has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogelsong’s place on the roster.
Outsports has what should be the final word about Saturday’s National Anthem debacle at Petco Park before the Dodgers-Padres game.
The upshot: it was not, not surprisingly, a homophobic conspiracy. Rather It was a series of unfortunate occurrences and dumb mistakes, once again validating the old saying about how one need not look to evil motives when mere stupidity can explain things. This is one of those times. Go read the post for the entire explanation. The short version of that is that, like a lot of anthem singers, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was to sing along with a backing tape of themselves performing the anthem. The DJ in charge of it played the wrong date’s backing tape. He played the one from the female singer the night before.
In addition, Outsports spoke with that DJ — DJ Artform — who is embarrassed by his mistake and by not doing anything to correct it in the moment. DJ Artform was a contractor and his relationship with the Padres was terminated.
So that seems to be that. Until the next thing anyway. There is always a next thing.
File this under “not terribly surprising,” but Shane Victorino was released from his minor league contract with the Cubs yesterday after batting .233/.324/.367 through nine games with Triple-A Iowa. Victorino says he does not plan on retiring, however, and that he plans to try to latch on someplace else.
It’ll be a supreme long shot. Victorino, 35, Victorino suffered a calf injury during spring training and missed all of spring training. Last year he played in only 71 games between the Red Sox and Angels, and 30 in 2014 with the Red Sox. He was last healthy and effective in 2013. In a league where older players don’t do as well as they used to, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to find a gig.
If this is the end of the road for the Flyin’ Hawaiian, he’ll finish with a career batting line of .2750/.340/.425 with 108 homers, 489 RBI, 231 stolen bases and four Gold Glove Awards in 12 seasons. He also has two World Series rings, from the 2008 Phillies and the 2013 Red Sox. He was a two-time All-Star.
Maybe not the way he wanted to end his career, if this is indeed the end, but Victorino had a fine career while it lasted.