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John Smoltz on Aroldis Chapman


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From the Sporting News

 

SN: What should the Reds do with Aroldis Chapman next year? Start him or keep him as their closer?

 

Smoltz: I can't believe I'm hearing this. I had no idea they're even thinking about making him a starter. You would think people would have learned their lesson from the Joba Chamberlain situation. I don't think it's fair to bounce a guy around early in his career. The transformation between starting and closing is night and day. (Chapman) is lights out as a closer. I don't know if he can be lights out for eight innings.

 

 

John Smoltz: Leave Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen - MLB - Sporting News

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Isn't that a complete 180 for you?

 

Sort of. I think he should remain in the pen and I like the way he's being used. I still think the "closer" role is the most overrated in baseball. If he's a starter he has to be way more accurate with his off speed stuff and has to back his fastball down to 95-97 and I don't trust the off speed stuff and I don't want him at 95-97.

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Starter seems like it would be a lot of stress on his arm as hard as he's able to throw the ball. I like the thought of having him as a late mid reliever say 7th inning that can come in and close out the game if things are going well and his pitch count isn't getting too high. I would love to see him start but he's still so young and the Reds have a lot of money invested in him, just seems a bit risky this early in his career.

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I agree with Smoltz as well. You don't see a lot of closers successfully transitioning from a closer to a starter. I see the temptation but it's a lot more work on the arm and a lot of relievers aren't able to make it work with the way they throw. If he still wants to be a starter, more power to him but I feel it's the wrong move and will result in rm trouble sooner than later.

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Sort of. I think he should remain in the pen and I like the way he's being used. I still think the "closer" role is the most overrated in baseball. If he's a starter he has to be way more accurate with his off speed stuff and has to back his fastball down to 95-97 and I don't trust the off speed stuff and I don't want him at 95-97.

 

 

This is close to where I am. Chapman has to show some control of off speed stuff before he can become a starter. How often does he even throw something off speed? When he does, he often is it in the strike zone? You can succeed as a closer with one great pitch and a mediocre second pitch but that won't work as a starter.

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Sort of. I think he should remain in the pen and I like the way he's being used. I still think the "closer" role is the most overrated in baseball. If he's a starter he has to be way more accurate with his off speed stuff and has to back his fastball down to 95-97 and I don't trust the off speed stuff and I don't want him at 95-97.

 

I could have heard wrong but wasn't he doing those exact things you just mentioned in spring training? I thought I heard he was having really good control of his off speed pitches in spring training, and which is why he was the best starter in spring training from what Walt said. As a closer you don't need many pitches, especially when you throw 100 mph. I think he needs to mix in the slider more while closing, however I think his off speed stuff would be just fine if he was starting because he would be practicing more and being throwing it more in games to get better at it.

 

So obviously I still say he needs to start next year or at least attempt to. If it doesn't work out, then we already know he can close. Which him attepting to start would make him throw that off speed stuff which would also help him as a closer if he got switched back. He is a dominant closer, but also could be a dominant pitcher and a pitcher that could take all all the way while starting. Now if they do win it all this year, then I may change my opinion too. However I will add if they decide to keep him as a closer and never try him as a starter, I wont be to upset about it. For me personally I would still try to start him next season.

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I will also add Seattle could have done the same thing with Randy Johnson who is a good person to compare him too, and had him just be a closer. Which he probably would have been dominant just like Chapman has been in that role. However would anyone have traded what he did as a starter to make him a closer even though he would have been a dominant closer? Chapman deserves at least a chance to start, and its worth trying IMO.

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I could have heard wrong but wasn't he doing those exact things you just mentioned in spring training? I thought I heard he was having really good control of his off speed pitches in spring training, and which is why he was the best starter in spring training from what Walt said. As a closer you don't need many pitches, especially when you throw 100 mph. I think he needs to mix in the slider more while closing, however I think his off speed stuff would be just fine if he was starting because he would be practicing more and being throwing it more in games to get better at it.

 

So obviously I still say he needs to start next year or at least attempt to. If it doesn't work out, then we already know he can close. Which him attepting to start would make him throw that off speed stuff which would also help him as a closer if he got switched back. He is a dominant closer, but also could be a dominant pitcher and a pitcher that could take all all the way while starting. Now if they do win it all this year, then I may change my opinion too. However I will add if they decide to keep him as a closer and never try him as a starter, I wont be to upset about it. For me personally I would still try to start him next season.

 

I'm sort of on the same page except I wouldn't mind terribly if they tried him as a starter but I'd rather them just leave him where he is b/c he's great.

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Because he throws so hard, I'm worried about how long his arm will actually hold up. He could end up having a wonderfully long career like Randy Johnson did, or he could end up being on the DL like Kerry Wood did. There's no guarantee either way.

 

So, based upon that, and if you cautiously believe there's only so many pitches left in his arm...I would rather use him when it benefits the Reds the most. And right now, that's saving a game that they've already got the lead in. I'd hate to have him go 7 innings of 1 or 2 run ball as a starter, and lose because the Reds' bats couldn't figure out Carpenter or Lincecum or Kershaw that day, and lose.

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