We continue Red Reporter's player by player look at the 2015 Cincinnati Reds. We'll profile every player who got time for the Reds this year, and will imagine their tenure with the Reds going forward.
By the Numbers
4 Wins, 4 Losses, 66.1 IP, 1.63 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 15.74 K/9, 4.48 BB/9, 3.52 K/BB, 1.15 WHIP, 33 Saves, 2.4 bWAR
Honestly, this feels weird to write because Aroldis Chapman is a freak, and he had an unbelievable 2015 season. However, if you compare his 2015 season to his 2014, it just isn't the same. Chapman pitched worse across the board than he did the year before. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. His 2014 season was historically one of the best by a reliever ever.
We have extraordinarily high expectations for Chapman because it seems impossible that anyone could even get a hit against him. However, looking at the numbers, that's not quite true. Chapman is phenomenal at keeping hitters from making contact with the ball, basically, because his average velocity is 99 MPH and he throws a sick slider and change up. However, his BABIP for the year was sitting at .331. Meaning, when someone actually made fair contact with the ball, there was a good chance it would end up being a hit. For a guy that consistently throws the ball 100+ miles per hour, that's kinda weird. Regardless, Chapman is probably the best closer in the game, and if he isn't then he's the most exciting. Chicks dig 100+ MPH fastballs.
How'd He Do?
This seems like an incredibly dumb question considering what I laid out above. However, from my standpoint, Chapman's 2015 was disappointing. Part of it is the lofty, high expectations we put on him. Another part is my usual dumb and biased opinion. I don't want Chapman on the team anymore. Every time he pitches for the Reds, while exciting, is truly a waste. Outside of that, if you look at his numbers compared to the year before, he just doesn't look as good. The velocity was there and he was near unhitable once again, but he wasn't as effective. He walked more batters, gave up more dingers, and players put the ball in play more often. If we are using my eye test, I felt like batters were able to stick with Chapman longer. I felt like they could force longer counts and in turn had better results. But, maybe that's because of my bias.
I'm going to take a page from Derek's book when he wrote about Mesoraco. Who in the hell knows about the 2016 outlook? We're in a weird spot. We are no longer in the #LetHimStart phase. Rather, we are in the #ShouldWeTradeHim phase. The answer is yes. If you believe otherwise you are wrong. I think Walt Jocketty would tell you that you're wrong as well. During the 2015 trade deadline, it sounds like Walter was very close to pulling the trigger on a Chapman trade. Rumor was he was asking for the moon and teams backed away. It's difficult to fathom selling the farm for a closer, however one team looked like they were going to do it. The Arizona Diamondbacks are a really dumb team, and LaRussa and company were really considering shipping some top prospects to the Reds for Chapman. Something happened and a deal couldn't get done.
If you've been paying attention, it sounds like the Reds are going to blow it up and take the route taken by the Astros and Cubs. It's not a bad idea. Actually, it is quite intriguing. Chapman would be #1 to go on this list. He's only got a year left on his contract, is getting expensive, and could net you some serious prospect haulage. Also, it's very likely that a team may overpay just because it's Chapman, and he can throw really really hard. It's easy to believe that his fastball can increase ticket sales and for many teams that's sexy.
Scenario #1: The Reds trade Chapman.
In my mind, this is the only scenario that should exist. It makes zero sense for the Reds to pay Chapman money to close when they most likely will not have a winning team. I think Walt got Castellini on the same page, and I'm sure there are some fans wise enough to be on board. The most important part of this scenario is Chapman is the one player on the team that will net the most prospects. Teams are gonna be all over the Chapman bidding war come Winter Meetings.
Scenario #2: The Reds keep Chapman and win.
I mean, if this happens Walt looks like a freaking wizard. I would be very happy if this happened because I love winning baseball. However, this has a snowball's chance in hell of happening unless some big moves are made to improve the team in FA and the winter trade market. This just isn't smart baseball management, and the Reds shouldn't even try.
Scenario #3: The Reds keep Chapman and lose.
If this happens grab your pitch forks and torches and storm the stadium. Everyone would deserve to lose their jobs.
Scenario #4: The Reds keep Chapman and his arm blows up.
I'll just cry.
Chance of making the Reds Roster in 2016: If he's on the team it is 99.9%. However, I think the realistic chance of him being with the Reds in 2016 is about 10%. I don't think any GM in baseball, except for Dave Stewart, would keep Chapman in Cincy with this kind of situation. He'll get traded and the Reds will get some pretty dang nice prospects in return.