Aroldis Chapman is Pretty Good

After the eighth inning of last night’s game, the Brewers found themselves down 3-1 to the Reds. Normally, in this scenario, they would have at least a fighting chance of winning (7.7%, according to Fangraphs’ win expectancy) that was likely even higher given the hitters that were due up in the ninth: Ryan Braun, Aramiz Ramirez, and Corey Hart. However, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman had other ideas:

Chapman Strikezone Plot

Chapman vs. Braun

called strike – 97 mph fastball, down and away
foul tip – 96 mph fastball, down and away
swinging strike – 100 mph fastball, down and away

Chapman vs. Ramirez

ball – 98 mph fastball, high
foul – 97 mph fastball, high and inside
foul – 98 mph fastball, high
swinging strike – 100 mph fastball, higher

Chapman vs. Hart

ball – 97 mph fastball, high and away
foul – 98 mph fastball, high
swinging strike – 91 mph slider, down and in
ball – 100 mph fastball, high and further away
ball – 99 mph fastball, high
in play, out – 98 mph fastball, down the middle

The Brewers’ best hitters had absolutely no defense against Chapman, who has struck out an obscene 16.93 batters per nine innings this year. Braun received three upper-90s fastballs on the outside corner that even he couldn’t touch. Ramirez was behind everything Chapman threw, and didn’t have sufficient time to judge the ball’s location, let alone get his bat around on it. Hart was at least able to put the ball in play, but was still unable to handle Chapman’s fastball, let alone the 91 mph slider that he trotted out in Hart’s at-bat.

Sometimes, you just have to tip your hat to the opponent. Chapman’s stuff is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and it was plainly obvious that the Brewers weren’t going to mount any sort of comeback against him. He was able to strike out Braun and Ramirez on nothing but fastballs, a testament as to just how special that pitch is. Yesterday, he didn’t even need his slider, but the one he threw to Hart hinted at how much better he could be if he needed to. Last night’s ninth inning was incredible to watch, and if Chapman gets into the game tonight, stop watching the game through your Brewers-colored glasses, and take in the inning as a baseball fan. You’ll be amazed at what you see.   

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