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Aroldis Chapman (RP-CIN)
Injury – He was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Royals catcher Salvador Perez in a spring training game earlier this week. Chapman sustained a broken orbital bone above his left eye and underwent surgery to repair it.
2013 Season – He followed up his dominant 2012 season with another 38 saves in 2013. He struck out 112 batters in 63.2 innings for a K/9 ratio of 15.7. However, his ERA increased over one whole run compared to 2012.
Reason For Optimism
- Fortunately, the impact was at one of the most protected areas of the skull so there was no brain damage or any other residual fractures.
- The initial diagnosis is that Chapman should be back on the mound throwing within 6-8 weeks..
- He has thrived as a closer and preferred to remain there as opposed to becoming a starter. His mental toughness should help him get back on the mound and overcome any potential fears that exist.
- He has emerged as one the top five closers in baseball. This was a freak injury and had no effect on his arms or legs.
Reason For Concern
- Irrespective of this injury, Chapman's ERA rose over a full run from 2012 to 2013. This indicates that he has become more hittable.
- Even if he is able to make it back to the Reds by May or June, his mental state of mind will always be in question because of the nature of this incident.
- Someone else will be closing games for Cincinnati in Chapman's absence. If for some reason that pitcher has success, the Reds may not be so quick to give the job back to Chapman right away.
2014 OUTLOOK – Chapman was easily one of the top closers in all of baseball with his electric fastball that can light up radar guns to 105 mph. Thankfully he is ok, but it remains to be seen how or if this incident will affect him in a game situation. His fantasy baseball value took a major hit as he will slip in many drafts. But if he can make it back by June, he should still be able to rack up 20-30 saves. Target him in the later rounds for saves, but make sure you have other options on your roster because we just won't know if there are any long-term effects stemming from this tragic situation.
If you are wondering the best way to evaluate arms such as Chapman so that you can find these “gems” on the mound, I've got just the thing for you. It's the 2014 Fantasy Alarm Draft Guide powered by BaseballGuys. There are a couple of articles detailing exactly how you can go about finding bargains on players who are on the comeback trail in 2014.
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