The Cincinnati Reds will enter spring training with relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman in the starting rotation. While the team will look to add their budding star to the starting line up, Chapman will reportedly be on an innings count after tossing pitches in 71 2/3 innings just a season ago.
We know there will be a limit on how often Chapman will be able to pitch, but is there a specific number that the Reds have in mind?
“That’s a great question,” Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said. “I don’t think there’s an absolute. You have to have a plan and hope works. Any time you have a young pitcher and he’s going to surpass his inning total, there’s going to be questions if he gets hurt.
“We can’t be scared of that. A hard number, I can’t say. I’d like to see where he is in terms of innings and pitchers after 25 or 30 starts. We’ll know a lot more by the time we get to spring training.”
Chapman has one of the most impressive fastballs in all of Major League Baseball, but a big part of his success in the starting line up will depend on his ability to throw some breaking pitches.
“He’s got that slider — and it’s a good one. But when you go 20, 30 pitches and only throw one or two, it goes backward. And it did. He has to get sharper with that pitch. He also has to use the change-up and the cut fastball,” Price said.
Through his 125 innings of action, the 25-year-old pitcher has an incredible 2.33 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. The lefty will be a major part of the Reds rotation moving forward. It will be interesting to see how the team handles him during spring training and leading up to the start of next season.