Arolids Chapman's hands are too big to throw a changeup. Wha?

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This is one I’ve never heard before. Ken Rosenthal spoke with Reds’ AAA pitching coach Ted “Tower of” Power, who says that Arolids Champan may need to figure out how to throw an offspeed pitch that isn’t a changeup because his hands are too big to effectively grip one. For now he’s using his slider as his offspeed pitch.

Thoughts:

1) When I saw Chapman pitch here in Columbus a few months ago he was definitely throwing an effective changeup. It wasn’t a slider, at any rate, as he threw some of those too, slotting in ahead of his changeups in velocity but below his fastball (it helps that I was sitting right behind home plate and couldn’t detect slider movement on many of his offspeed pitches as well).  Maybe Power’s point is about consistency with the change. Chapman was on the night I saw him. He got shelled in his next outing. Maybe the change wasn’t working;

2) For now Chapman can get away with only featuring two pitches because he’s in the pen. If the Reds return him to starting next season, he’s going to have to figure something out; and

3) Knuckleball, dude. You know in your heart it’s right. How awesome would it be to go from 103 m.p.h. to a flutterball? Probably physically impossible for a guy like Chapman, but if he could do it, I’d probably quit my job and become his butler.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.