Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cuban Sensation Aroldis Chapman Defects

Great work by today as they have every angle regarding the news that 21-year-old Ardolis Chapman defected from Cuba. If the recent history of high-profile, international pitchers holds true, there will be an epic bidding war for his services once he establishes his residency. Chapman could earn himself significantly more than the $32 million fellow countryman Jose Contreras received in 2003. Somewhere, Stephen Strasburg is cursing the MLB Draft.

Most of the hype spawns from his 100 MPH heater. MLB scouts witnessed his stuff firsthand as Chapman was a member of the disappointing Cuban team at the World Baseball Classic. His statistics were lackluster with a 5.68 ERA in 6.1 IP, scattering 6 hits to go with 8 SO and 4 BB. However, most of the runs he gave up came during Cuba's first of two losses against Japan, the eventual winner of the WBC.

Baseball America's John Manual received the following report from a veteran international scout, "He was unreal in Mexico City and just OK in San Diego," the scout said. "There were rumors heading into Mexico that he wouldn’t be there because they were afraid he would defect, but he was there and was lights out. If you are looking for more than that in a pitcher, you’ll be searching your whole life. He was so much fun to watch. If he’s 21 like he’s listed, the sky’s the limit. You’ve got honestly just one or two tweaks that could be made but he could go straight to the top of a big league rotation. He’s got a great body, definitely has high pockets, absolutely. He’s on top of the hitter, his release has extension, he’s got the ball coming out of there at 100 mph. He’s absolutely electric."

All reports indicate that Chapman will be signed, sealed, and delivered to some team by Spring Training. Our guess is this guy will be sporting black pinstripes by February/March.

The following is video from his dazzling Mexico City performance that the scout referred to above (can anyone tell us what language the announcers are speaking?).

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