VIDEO: Reds Pitcher Aroldis Chapman Makes Major League Debut with 102 m.p.h. Strikes
Over 68 innings in 12 games this season, Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg tossed 92 strikeouts and recorded a 2.91 ERA — and then he screwed up his arm and heads into Tommy John surgery on Friday. As they say at the deli counter, who's next?
How about reliever Aroldis Chapman, who made his pitching debut last night for the Cincinnati Reds, and promptly threw eight pitches — four of them over 100 m.p.h., including a 102.7 m.p.h. pitch — to record his first K and his first one-two-three inning. Chapman is a Cuban-born pitcher who in 2008 tried to defect, but failed in his attempt, prompting Cuba president Raul Castro to suspend him from his Cuban club team and the national team at the Beijing Olympics. He was allowed to play in the World Baseball Classic. In 2009, however, while at a tournament in the Netherlands, Chapman tried to defect once again, this time successfully, by simply walking out of his hotel lobby and into a waiting car. He established residency in Andorra, and was granted permission to become an MLB free agent. (All this, according to Wikipedia, by the way.) The Reds signed him and just called him up this week from AAA Louisville. Watch his electrifying debut after the jump.