Aroldis Chapman - the hardest throwing pitcher in Major League Baseball.
Albertín Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz - the hardest throwing man in Major League Baseball.
Aroldis Chapman - he can hit 100 miles per hour any time he takes the mound.
So you are enamored with the idea of a man who can throw a baseball faster than any other man alive? Maybe you're only interested in just who it is who's got the single most powerful, most explosive throwing arm in the entirety of Major League Baseball. Well, we've a definite answer for you here. Since his debut in the big leagues, there's not been a solitary soul who can compete in the world of fastest fastballs with Aroldis Chapman.
Baseball is a game where statistics are analyzed to no end. Statistically speaking, it is a point of fact that in this modern age of high grade digital marvels and technologically superior equipment, Aroldis Chapman threw the single fastest pitch recorded with these newfangled devices. He's got the single most powerful arm in Major League Baseball today. Though it may be highly debatable as to whether or not his singular physical and freakish talent is comparable to those amazing players of years gone by, you can't dispute the facts that today, here and now, nobody can truly compete on the velocity level with Aroldis Chapman.
Aroldis Chapman delivers another blazing fastball.
Closer, Rich 'Goose' Gossage.
Closer, Bruce Sutter.
Dennis Eckersley was both a starter at one time, then the world's best closer for a time.
Closer, Lee Smith.
Closer, Mariano Rivera
The age of the closer. This is brand new stuff, and Aroldis Chapman has the scariest stuff there is.
So far as the history of baseball goes, the position of 'closer' is relatively a new one. In the old days the guy who started pitching the game was damned well expected to finish pitching that game. Those days are so gone and done with one wonders how they ever existed in the first place. These days a starter, and a reliable starter in Major League Baseball is almost always thought of a guy who is going to go out there for six strong innings. Six innings of keeping the team in a position to where they can win. That's it. That's all. If the starter is still going strong and hasn't thrown over an already determined amount of pitches after six good enough innings, then the manager and the pitching coach will at least nod at each other to agree the guy can go back out for the seventh inning. After seven innings? Oh hell, now we're really getting stressed out about it all. Are we pushing our starter too hard? Can he take the work load? What happens to his self esteem if he gets bombed in the seventh innings?
You see, the game has changed. Starters, and I do mean all of them, are making several million dollars a year. That money doesn't fall from the sky. The team has to pay it, and a contract has already been guaranteed. You don't go messing around with the arm of someone you've invested millions upon millions of dollars in - in the hopes that he's good for several years. Hell no. You go to the bullpen, and if you aren't already in the bullpen with the arms by the sixth inning, then you damned sure are by the seventh inning. The team has a guy who's slotted in as the seventh inning guy. They've got a sixth inning guy too. So why the hell would a starter go to the eight inning ever? Ninth inning? Get out of here. You're crazy. Roger Clemens retired a long time ago.
This is the age of the closer, my friends, and the time is now for a man like Aroldis Chapman, but he wasn't anything like the first of the closers. Hell no. There were closers back in the days when I started watching baseball even. Bruce Sutter. Bruce was the first big time closer I recall. I'm told that early cave men baseball leagues had someone they called Goose Gossage, they found some markings that resembled him on a wall in some cave in France, I think.
The salient point I'm trying to make here is that the position of closer is relatively new. It is at least as new as the idea that a black dude could be President in the USA. Aroldis Chapman is a black dude, the scariest fastball throwing one you'd ever seen or heard of. He even makes Goose Gossage seem small, in terms of fastballs, but only maybe. You know, these newfangled radar detectors are, well, new. Yes, they're not so new, don't try to confuse me here. The new ones are more accurate than they used to be. When Bob Feller was pitching they used a motorcycle to try to time his pitches. Now think on that a minute, will ya?
Well, time went one. It's always doing such like, that damned thing we call time. There came about a fella they called Dennis Eckersley, and weren't that a fella? Big funny mustache, that one, but then again, that dude they called 'Goose,' well, he had one of those things too. Well, then it so happened that there closing business was just up and done. That Dennis Eckersley guy had been a starter, and a damned fine one too. The the gods of baseball visited him in a dream or something, told him to just go on out there to the ball field and play ball, but only when the game was tight, in the late innings. People thought he was crazy. Some still likely do. I don't blame no one for fearing the lord and such, especially when it comes to something as sacred as baseball.
But things got scarier still. There was soon more and more of them there pitchers that wanted to only pitch in tight spots. Damnit! We're in a tight spot. Best call that one scary guy out in the bullpen, and the lord sent Mariano Rivera to the damned Yankees, and so here we are now, in the modern times - with Aroldis Chapman.
Now it's not a good thing to forget someone, now is it? One thing I know about baseball is that nothing is ever forgotten. That's a good thing, right? Sure it is, young feller, and so we'll mention the great Lee Smith right here and now. He came after that Gossage feller, and was here before that Eckersley feller took right ahead on and done changed the game and all. Joe Nathan? Hell, Joe Nathan is still not retired, God bless Joe too, he's over 40 years old and still wants to come back from major arm surgery, and play some late innings ball. God loves a man who tries for what he loves. Don't worry your head none over Joe Nathan, he's second only to Mariano Rivera now, ain't he? Except that there Chapman fella might outdo 'em all.
Aroldis Chapman - the man with the 105 mile per hour fastball.
The Cuban Missile - Aroldis Chapman.
Say what ever it is you wish in this world of free speech about an economic system. The facts are Marxism always leads to a ruined economy. Aroldis Chapman knows this, he defected from Cuba to come to the United States where he has the opportunity to compete at the very highest level there is. He also makes more money here.
He was already a professional baseball player there at home in Cuba. His father was a boxing trainer. So it would be unwise for anyone to ever get upset and charge the mound to throw punches with Aroldis. He's been taught from his youth to punch men in the head. Anyone who can whip an arm into a 105 mile per hour throwing motion can probably break your nose with a fist fairly rapidly too, wouldn't you reckon?
Playing baseball in Cuba, Aroldis was originally a first baseman. His coaches noticed he had a much better than average throwing arm though, so they coaxed him on over to the middle of the infield to stand on the hill, and throw pitches. He did quite well, as I am sure you can imagine. Baseball is increasingly an international sport, and if you are truly a baseball fan you applaud this and hope it increases international more and more. Aroldis played for the Cuban national team in 2007 at the Pan American games, and in 2009 in the World Baseball Classic.
Aroldis had attempted and failed to defect from Cuba in 2008. He had to meet with the president of Cuba, Raul Castro himself, and so his 2008 baseball activities were lacking, as Aroldis was being punished for wanting a better life for himself. He would have certainly been involved in the 2008 Summer Olympics were it not for his failed defection. Nevertheless, Aroldis dreamed of a better life playing Major League Baseball in the USA. When the Cuban national team was in The Netherlands, Aroldis managed to escape quite easily. He petitioned Major League Baseball to be granted the status of a free agent, and was promptly drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.
Aroldis Chapman - and as many 100 mile per hour fastballs as you could wish to see.
Aroldis Chapman and the 100 mile per hour fastballs.
The ability to throw a baseball at over one hundred miles per hour is a freakish thing. That ability is only useful if you can throw the ball in the strike zone, and Chapman can do it too. He's hardly the only guy who can do this, but there's no mistaking the matter here, he can do it more frequently than anyone else in Major League Baseball can, and he has recorded what is officially now the fastest pitch in Major League Baseball history. No, you can not declare him to have a better arm than Nolan Ryan, Satchel Paige, Bob Feller, or any other of the great pitchers known for high velocity. Wasn't Ryan documented? Yes he was, and with far inferior equipment than is used today. Nolan Ryan was in his 30's before primitive radar guns started appearing at a few stadiums. Nowadays we have super technological radar guns at every single stadium on every single pitch. So Chapman has the best or most powerful arm, velocity wise, in the Major Leagues today, and his arm is probably as good or possibly even better than the great arms of years gone by.
His 105 miles per hour pitch can be seen on Youtube all day long. Chapman throws more pitches, or a higher percentage of them at 100 miles per hour or more than does anyone else we know of. There have been a lot of other guys who could also do similar things, but they've not lasted as well as Chapman has. Again, throwing a baseball that hard isn't a natural thing. There's hardly anything more unnatural at all. It is a violent physical motion, that throwing a ball that fast. Most pitchers who do this will destroy their arms before long. Oh hey, Chapman throws a hell of a slider too.
A tall and lanky left handed man with a one hundred mile per hour fastball and a ninety mile per hour slider? Does this ring any bells? It certainly should. Though Chapman is nearly short compared to Randy Johnson, Johnson and Chapman share the same exact approach to pitching. When you come into the game as a closer, you get the opportunity to air it out, and throw as fast as you can. When you are a starter you do not throw your very hardest fastballs at all times, else you'll be plum out of gas before the 5th inning. This is why the closers like Chapman get to really show off with the radar guns.
Aroldis Chapman in New York.
Aroldis Chapman with the New York Yankees in 2016.
Aroldis Chapman has been terrifying late inning hitters in the Major Leagues for five straight years now. He's made the All Star team three straight years. Going into 2016 he'll be starting the season with a 30 game suspension. He's being made an example of for a domestic violence disturbance, and he knows this. Chapman accepts the suspension and his own wrongdoing, but do please note here, no one was hurt at all in the incident. Major League Baseball is not the trashy NFL, and the big executives plan to keep MLB classy.
Chapman is now a New York Yankee, and he'll be terrifying and striking out lots of new hitters in the American League. The only folks who've seen him before are folks traded from the National League and or the players who have faced Chapman in the All Star games. As a dedicated follower of the Texas Rangers, I can hardly wait to root against Chapman when the Yankees face the Rangers. If Chapman strikes out every Ranger hitter he sees, well, I'll applaud him for it, and appreciate his freakish and terrific talents.
Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. This statement isn't hyperbole, it is based on pure statistics. He's recorded more saves by far than has any other pitcher. We do note here the role of bullpen closer is a new one, but even so, Rivera's record will be tough to ever top. The Yankees acquired Chapman to be the man for them, and he'll be that man too.
Aroldis Chapman and the single fastest pitch known of in Major League Baseball history.
Aroldis Chapman's strikeout rate.
With two superhuman pitches, Aroldis Chapman strikes out big league batters at a rate barely ever seen. Though throwing a baseball over one hundred miles per hour is a violent thing physically, Aroldis Chapman's pitching delivery is very smooth and mechanically sound. His pitching motion is flawless, and so there is no great worry that he'll injure his arm.
For his career to date, Aroldis Chapman is averaging 15.4 strikeouts per 9 innings. In 2014 he averaged a tremendous 17.7 strikeouts per 9 innings.
New York Yankees Aroldis Chapman Navy Blue Name and Number T-Shirt
Aroldis Chapman and that amazing fastball of his.
Now the 106 miles per hour pitch Chapman threw to Andrew McCutchen is disputed. The accuracy of that gun is what is disputed. No one disputes the 105 mile per hour pitch Chapman threw the previous season. Baseball is a world of statistics and measurements and so there are always disputes, or asterisks, etc.
Chapman is in his prime. It is a good thing, he'll be prime time all the time in New York City. Athletes are thought to enter their prime performance years at 27 years of age. Chapman is 28 going into 2016. Some people worry he's lost something of his amazing arm. This is unsatisfactory because Chapman seems to be focusing more on throwing strikes now. He is certainly walking fewer hitters than he used to. He's also averaging, by far, the highest velocity in the entire Major Leagues. His fastball averages over one hundred miles per hour. Read that again, his fastball averages over 100 miles per hour, at 100.3. It may be years before there is anyone to compare him to, as the starters have to hold something back in reserve. One season Chapman threw the sixty two fastest pitches thrown the entire season. Those pitches averaged 103.92 miles per hour.
While Chapman's fastball gets all the glory, the facts are his slider is one of the best there has ever been too. Yes, he can throw his slider at over ninety miles per hour, and yes, the velocity is what helps to make it so very hard to hit. His slider looks every bit as devastating as Randy Johnson's or Steve Carlton's did. Literally, despite the amazing velocity of the fastball, more batters swing and miss at Chapman's slider than they do the fastball. So even though Chapman has the fastest fastball in all of Major League Baseball, it is only his second best pitch.
As it is, Chapman doesn't need anything else, but he will age, we all do - and he'll need to develop another pitch. Then again, he may age like Nolan Ryan, and as a closer, he'll never truly need another pitch. This is my hope for Aroldis Chapman, the man with the best arm in the Major Leagues today, and possibly ever. Thanks for reading.