Who ever thought that the Toronto Blue Jays would enter the ring and be in contention for one of the most hotly contested pitchers in the world? MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Blue Jays discussions with Aroldis Chapman are heating up, and met with him for a private workout on Thursday.
Here he is as a young 19-year old at the Baseball World Cup, most notably the semifinal game against Japan in which he struck out 11 and allowing only three hits. He also has a very funky Tim Lincecum-esque delivery:
One thing is evident, even from this brief footage of him at the Baseball World Cup … this kid can throw heat. Even his pickoff throw to first base was a bullet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it clocked in at around 90 MPH.
By the brief footage I watched above, Chapman does an amazing job of overpowering hitters but does a poor job of locating his pitches.
Of course, control and locating is something he can develop in the minor leagues, but you can’t teach someone to throw a 95 MPH fastball.
I’m not exactly sure what the process is with undrafted players, but a couple of commenters suggested that Chapman would go through the same process and whichever teams signs him would get Chapman for six years of service time, plus however long he spends in the minor league system.
One would have to assume this scenario is very similar to what happened with the Red Sox when they signed Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Stoeten and Parkes have sparked some good discussion over at Drunk Jays Fans about the possibility of signing the Cuban defector.
It seems like a good gamble to take on a guy who could be an elite pitcher in the near future, rather than shell out a crazy amount of cash for somebody whose best years are already behind him.
As Stoeten suggests, in the worst case scenario Aroldis Chapman is a bust the Blue Jays wasted $25 million dollars. That’s really not all that much money, considering the Jays ate close to $20 million after releasing Frank Thomas and B.J. Ryan.