FanPost

Eyewitness Report: Chapman in Carolina

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(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

I'll preface this by saying I'm a Phillies fan, but follow Reds prospects pretty frequently, as I live 10 minutes from Five County Stadium. I honestly, probably see more Reds prospects than actual Phillies games during a season. I was excited to hear that Aroldis Chapman was doing some rehab work with the Carolina Mudcats, so I made sure to get to last night's game, as it was likely an on day for his rehab assignment.

It was hot, but not ungodly last night (it's all relative, as what constitutes hot here, may be equivalent to your Kitchen's convection oven), with virtually no wind and fairly low humidity. Chapman came on to pitch the 6th and part of the 7th inning.

Aroldis started off with a Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn impersonation. He was throwing very hard, though some pitches were only slightly closer to home plate than I was. His first 3 batters he hit 100, 101, 101, 105 on the radar gun (stadium gun, so maybe a little hot). That was very exciting. Unfortunately he also threw a ball into the opposing bullpen (a pickoff attempt, clearly intended for Rick Smits), wild pitch, a few balls in the dirt, two walks (including one in which ball 4 traveled 105 mph and nearly decapitated the lefty hitter (I forget who, as I didn't have a scorecard on me)). He gave up a few hits as well, but most of them were of the seeing eye variety, and I wouldn't say anyone made solid contact on him.

Overall, he struggled mightily with control initially, then after a visit from the dugout (+ center field, as Denis Phipps was the only other Spanish speaking player on the field at the time) he seemed to calm down and stop trying to throw every pitch for the radar gun. He mixed speeds more and got out of the inning with no runs. His second inning of work started off like his first did, more control issues and 2 runners scored.

I was surprised how easy his mechanics looked in person. No dreaded Inverted W that I could tell. No overly extraneous motions (Dontrelle Willis type craziness, I mean). He seemed to stick mostly to Fastball and change-up with speeds ranging from 78 to 105 on the stadium gun. He was on a 40 pitch count and got removed pretty promptly after hitting it. I'll probably see him pitch again this weekend. I hope he cleans up his control this weekend, because he is a lot of fun to watch when he has it (which he did for stretches last night).

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