Why Chapman needs to start

His development and the Reds' bullpen depth point Chapman to rotation

Updated: June 12, 2012, 12:22 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | Baseball Think Factory
Aroldis ChapmanJustin K. Aller/Getty ImagesIf the Reds believe Aroldis Chapman is built to be a starter, now is the time to find out.

On Sunday night, we got to see one of the rarest events in baseball this season, Aroldis Chapman allowing two runs during a game. But when you have a bad game and your ERA balloons by half a run and yet is still less than 1.00, it's a sign that you're having a more than halfway decent year.

Chapman entered the season a bit of an enigma, a player with a triple-digit fastball but an up-and-down relationship with the strike zone. The Cuban Missile's targeting system had some flaws, and the Cincinnati Reds were smart to start Chapman in the bullpen this season. After all, Chapman is still just 24, and being very raw, it made a good deal of sense to allow him to work out his flaws and increase his role as he improved. That time has come, and I don't mean racking up saves -- it's time for the Reds to try Chapman as a starter.

Calls for Chapman to start are nothing new given his dominance so far this year. If major league baseball were a video game, Chapman has looked like a guy who really needed to increase the difficulty level. ZiPS projects Chapman to finish the season with a 2.36 ERA, but I think even the computer is having trouble coming to terms with just how extreme Chapman's improvement has been.


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