At some point, watching Aroldis Chapman blow triple-digit heat past opposing hitters will get old. It hasn’t yet.
The Reds’ flame-throwing closer got into a pickle in the ninth inning in an attempt to preserve a 5-2 lead, as the Marlins loaded the bases with no outs. Chapman, however, blew a 102 MPH fastball past Donovan Solano for a strikeout, a 101 MPH fastball past Dee Gordon for another strikeout, then fanned Derek Dietrich with a 103 MPH heater to end the contest.
Chapman has gotten all three outs on strikeouts in each of his last three appearances. He’s 15-for-16 getting the save thus far with a 2.01 ERA and a 56/19 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).