Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman is destined to remain a closer, at least in the opinion of one rival scout who saw him start a minor-league game on Monday.
“I hope they do start him, but they’re crazy if they do,” said the scout, who works for another National League club. “It’s Joba Chamberlain all over again.
“His velocity dropped off in the second inning. He couldn’t get his off-speed stuff over the plate consistently. No question in my mind, he’s the closer.”
The Reds, for the second straight spring, are auditioning Chapman as a starter. But manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price prefer him to remain the closer, according to Hal McCoy of Fox Sports Ohio.
Chapman topped out at 93 mph on Monday and consistently threw 91, the scout said. His average reading as a reliever last season was 98.2 mph, according to Fangraphs.com.
Right-hander Mike Leake pitched in the same game, starting for Class AA Pensacola while Chapman started for Class AAA Louisville. Leake, according to the scout, was at 88-92 mph, and threw four pitches for strikes.
Both Chapman and Leake pitched three scoreless innings.