Cincinnati Reds 2013: Should Aroldis Chapman Start or Close?

Gary Ousdahl@@GaryOusdahlCorrespondent IIMarch 17, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 09:  Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the National League Division Series at the Great American Ball Park on October 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

According to Buster Olney of, Aroldis Chapman's long-anticipated outcome of whether or not he will start or close this season has been solved.  Chapman wants to close.

The dominating left-hander with the quickest recorded fastball of all time (105 MPH), was lights out last season for the Reds in the closer spot.

He went 5-5 with a ridiculously low 1.51 ERA and an even more ridiculous 122 strikeouts in 71.2 innings pitched, good enough for a mind-blowing 15.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  He also had 38 saves, was an All-Star, finished eighth in Cy Young voting and 12th in MVP voting.

The only problem was, many fans watching him dominate out of the 'pen were always scratching their heads wondering why he wasn't putting up these numbers pitching in the Reds rotation.

This year in spring, Chapman was in an odd situation as he wasn't sure whether he would start the season in the 'pen or in the rotation.  

Manager Dusty Baker made it clear that he wanted to hear directly from Chapman before he decided what to do with the flame-throwing lefty.  Now that that day has come, it's looking pretty clear that Reds fans will see him closing out games once again in 2013.

Chapman stated: 

I'm waiting to hear [the decision] so I can feel better, concentrate more, ... I don't think [it's a distraction] because when you go out there to pitch, you can't think about that. But it still would be better to know what they're going to do. The truth is, if they were to make the decision, I would want to be the closer, Chapman said, but it's not in my hands.

And at the end of the day, Chapman likes to close and "gets a rush" out of pitching in the ninth inning.  So why change a good thing that works, right?

Though I would love to see how Chapman would perform if given the opportunity to pitch in the rotation, I don't see his style of pitching being conducive to starting on a regular basis.  

Sure, it would be amazing to see him strike out double-digit batters almost every time he goes out, but is it worth sacrificing his health by pushing him into starting?

Dusty Baker said of the situation:

You hear all kinds of stuff. You hear it from his camp. You hear it from people talking and everybody thinks they're in the know, ... We are going to do what's best for the team and for him. But it makes it a lot easier when you get the person's blessing.

So it looks like Chapman pitching out of the 'pen is "what is best for the team."  

What do you think?  Should the Reds have seen what he could have done in the rotation, or is he better suited to stick in the 'pen and close out games in 2013?