Cincinnati is about to get its fireballing closer back.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi was told Tuesday that left-hander Aroldis Chapman, who has been on the shelf since taking a comebacker off his face in a mid-March Cactus League game, could “return to the Reds’ active roster as early as this weekend.”
Chapman hit 101 mph with his fastball in his rehab debut last Thursday at Low-A Dayton and displayed no obvious shyness on the mound. His minor league rehab assignment is moving to Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday, where he’s slate for two or three outings.
Chapman, 26, owns a 2.40 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 324 strikeouts in his first 198 2/3 major league innings.
The Reds enter play Tuesday with a 15-16 record and six-game deficit in the NL Central standings.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.