Aroldis Chapman had his big workout this morning. Scouts from 15 teams showed up to watch him pitch two five-minute bullpen sessions. According to Jorge Arangure, he threw in the 92-93 mph range for the most part and and topped out at 96.
The Twittersphere is complaining about his velocity this afternoon, but it’s probably worth noting that (a) the much repeated “100 mph” stuff about Chapman is based on a single radar reading from the WBC and could have been a fluke; (b) Chapman is still a lanky 21, and could easily add some velocity once he is farther into a workout regime superior to that he saw in Cuba; and (c) even if he tops out at 96 mph for the rest of his career, that would make him the hardest throwing lefty starter in the majors.
No, the real question isn’t the gun, it’s the control. No word from Arangure about that, though it’s probably hard to really gauge control in a bullpen session. He’s being referred to this afternoon as “a tremendous talent.” Someone in that same article compared him to Brien Taylor. I think it was meant as a compliment, but jeez, Brien Taylor? FanHouse’s Ed Price heard from someone who was there who said “he’s got the package.” I’m not sure what that means and wonder if the person who said that really does either. Everyone talked about his arm, but we all knew he had a good arm. The question is whether he can pitch.
The next question is if any of the teams in attendance — which included the Yankees, Orioles, Reds, Nats, Royals, Phillies, Cubs, Rangers, Mariners, Red Sox, Astros, Angels, Marlins and Pirates — are going to top the Sox’ offer of $15.5 million.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.