Aroldis Chapman is arguably the most intriguing free agent pitcher still on the market. He might be this winter’s most intriguing available player, period. “Who knows what the price tag is going to be on this deal,” Newman said. “He’s not where (Stephen) Strasburg was.” When Chapman threw a bullpen for scouts earlier this month, Newman said the reports were exactly what he expected: Huge fastball. Spotty command. Inconsistent secondary pitches. “But if you don’t like that, you need to be in another business,” Newman said.
Newman went on to opine that Chapman would likely start at A or AA in any system that he enters once he signs. With the Yankees garnering incredible revenues from a new ballpark and a playoff run yet keeping payroll steady, I would expect them to jump right into the international free agent market and snag Aroldis. As Newman notes, Chapman is not perfect, but all of the recent criticism of his maturity and “rough edges” has obscured the fact that he is an immense talent.
Newman also had some surprising news about an oft-overlooked Yankee pitching prospect:
Interesting answer when I asked whether one of the recent college draftees could move quickly like Joba Chamberlain or Ian Kennedy. I thought Newman would build up David Phelps or Adam Warren after their strong seasons, instead he went with a guy who had a 6.65 ERA in Double-A last year. ”Jeremy Bleich might,” Newman said. “He had an okay year, not a great year, in some ways. In some ways he had an outstanding year. His stuff was really good. He was getting it up to 94 with regularity. His stuff was better than it was in college, his command wasn’t quite as good. I’ll take that, because the command will come. I really believe that.”
Newman is generally fairly measured in his discussions of players, so I would expect his comment about Bleich’s velocity to have at least a kernel of truth, even if it might be a slight exaggeration. Bleich profiles as a “pitchability” lefty, and that sort of pitcher tends to get every chance to succeed in the major leagues. However, if he is truly touching 94 and sitting in the low 90’s, he might have a slightly higher ceiling. It will be interesting to follow his progress at AA this season.
Newman added a number of interesting tidbits on players such as Brackman, De La Rosa, Sanchez, Garcia, Montero, Gardner, and more, so check out the full articles.