“I’ll be honest. When I first heard they might make him a starter, I said, ‘Oh, my God. They’re going to take the most dominant left-handed closer in the game and put him in a role that has a lot of ifs, ands or buts,’” said Smoltz, the future Hall of Fame starter—or is that closer?—over the phone from San Francisco, where he is covering the World Baseball Classic for MLB Network.
Added Smoltz: “[The Reds] still have a real good bullpen, but if he starts, they’re going to have to bring him along in a way where they’re going to discover quickly that this won’t be the guy who throws 97, 98, 99 mph for seven innings, I don’t think. He’s got to learn his cruising speed, and he has to learn a lot of other things.
“You move him out of that closer’s role, you run a risk. People say that if it doesn’t work, they can just put him right back in the bullpen. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment.”
Translated: The odds of Chapman—or anybody else—becoming another Smoltz aren’t the best.
...“One of the things that makes this so complex is that we haven’t had a guy from the left side who has the potential to do something intriguing on both ends [as a closer and a starter],” Smoltz said. “He has had such tremendous success at a young age in the role.
“As a starter, the unknown is that you are putting him into a situation where he’s had no success. There also are [no starting innings] for Chapman, and that is such a huge topic now.
“So when you think about how the game is evolving, you’re going to have to treat him the way you treated [Stephen] Strasburg and all of those other young pitchers.
“As a starter, you’re not going to get the full fruits of a Chapman for some time, based on the theories that exist today.”
Nope. So keep him in the bullpen.
Posted: March 21, 2013 at 06:17 AM | 48 comment(s)
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