The Reds plan to tread lightly with Aroldis Chapman.
As the pitcher transitions from closing to starting, Reds pitching coach Bryan Price told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the club intends on implementing an innings limit for Chapman.
Last season, the 24-year-old compiled a 5-5 record, a 1.51 ERA and 38 saves through 71 2/3 innings en route to earning an All-Star selection. But Price hasn’t identified a target number of innings given Chapman’s newfound workload –– yet.
“I don’t think there’s an absolute,” Price said. “You have to have a plan and hope [it] works. Any time you have a young pitcher and he’s going to surpass his inning total, there’s going to be questions if he gets hurt. We can’t be scared of that.”
“I’d like to see where he is in terms of innings and pitchers after 25 or 30 starts.”
The Reds finally have the flexibility to move Chapman –– who’s infamously known for throwing 105 mph –– to the rotation after inking Jonathan Broxton to a three-year, $21 million deal to close for the club.
Price plans to consult Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, manager Dusty Baker and assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins to create a concrete plan heading into spring training. In the meantime, he hopes Chapman continues to develop his secondary pitches.
“He’s got that slider — and it’s a good one,” Price said. “But when you go 20, 30 pitches and only throw one or two, it goes backward. And it did. He has to get sharper with that pitch. He also has to use the change-up and the cut fastball.”
Either way, the Reds won’t hold Chapman to a tight leash like the Nationals’ strict innings limit with young ace Stephen Strasburg.
Photo via Facebook/Aroldis Chapman