It was only a little less than a month ago that reports surfaced about Aroldis Chapman unleashing a 105-mph fastball during an appearance with Triple-A Louisville. Many doubted the legitimacy of the gun at the time — and rightfully so — after all, we usually need to see these types of things to actually believe them.
Well, we can all believe now.
Chapman made history in last night’s loss to the Padres by throwing a 105-mph fastball. Check it out here.
As Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports tells us, it was the fastest pitch ever recorded in a major league game. The previous record was held by Joel Zumaya, who threw a 104.8-mph fastball during a playoff game on October 10, 2006. Chapman’s pitch actually topped out at 105.1 mph, according to Brooks Baseball.
Chapman threw 25 pitches in total last night, all of them over 100 mph. In perhaps the most entertaining matchup of the night, Chapman got Adrian Gonzalez to swing-and-miss on three consecutive pitches in the bottom of the seventh inning that reached 102 mph, 102 mph and 103 mph.
In addition to his history-making heater, the southpaw touched 104 mph on three occasions.
Here’s what opposing manager Bud Black told Dan Hayes of the North County Times after the jaw-dropping performance.
“I’ll go on record — that’s the best velocity fastball I’ve ever seen. That’s a legit No. 1.”
As for any doubts about the validity of the readings, Corey Brock, who covers the Padres for MLB.com, was told everything was on the up-and-up at PETCO.
“I’ve been told from several sources, team and otherwise, that this isn’t a case of a ‘hot’ gun. 105 mph here is really 105 mph.”
Okay, one final stat to blow you away. According to Gina Mizell of MLB.com, of the 159 pitches Chapman has thrown in the major leagues thus far, 74 of them have reached at least 100 mph. All you can really say is “wow.”
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.