Cincinnati Reds rookie Aroldis Chapman reportedly threw the fastest pitch ever recorded yesterday as he unleashed a 105 MPH fastball on the San Diego Padres. Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports wrote:
“The blazing pitch pushed a white-hot pennant race to the back burner. Yes, the San Diego Padres won the game 4-3 to pull ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the National League wild-card race. Sure, the San Francisco Giants all but buried the Colorado Rockies thanks to a dominant performance by Tim Lincecum(notes).
But the lingering memory was of a now-you-see-it, did-I-actually-see-it fastball to Tony Gwynn(notes) in the eighth inning. The pitch was not a fluke: Chapman threw 25 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings of relief, and every one was at least 100 mph. He didn’t throw a slider. He didn’t throw a changeup. Why would he?”
The Nationals made a strong push to sign the Cuban fireballer this offseason when he became available following his defection. Shortly after Chapman signed a $30 million dollar contract with the Reds, then Nationals President Stan Kasten announced that they had offered him over $20 million dollars. Other reports had the Nationals offer at about $25 million.
In 11 MLB games Chapman has struck out 13 batters in nine innings pitched while posting an ERA of 1.86. In 38 Triple-A appearances this season, he went 8-6 with 8 saves and 122 strikeouts in 94.2 innings pitched. The 22-year-old has electrified so far with his speed, and has made many wonder if he is in fact better than Stephen Strasburg.
While Chapman was almost a National, his success or failure really has nothing to do with the ball club. However, his late season success seems almost a slap in the face to Nats fans who feel robbed for not having Strasburg to close out the year. Strasburg was our Chapman, and while Aroldis may have a bit more spunk on his fastball, both are electrifying and incredibly fun to watch. I have no problem wishing the Reds luck, but still, a part of me burns every time I see Chapman out there making headlines, and I think about Strasburg not being able to play catch for even a few months.