Originally written on Chop-N-Change  |  Last updated 2/1/12
Jaye Chapman is a guy who I think is going to be seriously considered for a slot in the major league bullpen this spring. Chapman had a fantastic season, split between Mississippi and Gwinnett. Between the two levels, he struck out 77 while walking 31 in 68 1/3 innings. While the walk rate is a little high, it's not at the point of someone like Billy Bullock's, which is just a little too high. It's manageable.

A few down notes for Chapman, though. The six homers he allowed were maybe one or two too many, but not overly high. One benefit to him is the high amount of groundballs he gets, 1.47 for every ball in the air. It's not an extreme rate like Cory Gearrin produces, but it's very good. The 24 year-old Chapman was also the lucky recipient of a very low BABIP, .232 this season.

I marked Chapman as a player to watch after 2010, because his luck was awful. Despite ERAs over 5.00 in Myrtle Beach and Mississippi, his BABIPs were very high (.321 at Myrtle Beach and an absurd .378 in Mississippi). His strand rates were also hideous, at 57.7% in Myrtle Beach and 61.2% in Mississippi. He upped that strand rate to 100% in Mississippi this season, and 78% in Gwinnett. Like I said, with a little luck on his side, Chapman would be looked at as a completely different pitcher.

I think Chapman can honestly contend for a slot in the bullpen, and after a couple of free agent departures (Scott Linebrink, George Sherrill), there are some openings. Chapman could earn one of those spots with a solid spring, and I hope the Braves give him a fair shot.

Check out Chapman's player projection at THT. 
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