Even though Aroldis Chapman is no longer unique in terms of elite fastball velocity, he’s still among the best relievers in all of baseball. But for as great as he’s been in the regular season all these years, 2020 is the second straight year in which he’s given up a homer to send the Yankees packing for the winter.
This wasn’t how the Yankees envisioned Chapman finishing the team’s season when he was first acquired in 2016. It was supposed to be him clinching the last out of a World Series victory. It was supposed to make the acquisition of him (twice, by the way) “worth it” after his domestic violence allegation and suspension. Ick, to put it lightly. Instead, Chapman’s been a mercenary who hasn’t gotten the job done when it’s mattered most. Maybe 2021 will be different, but for now, Chapman’s memories as a Yankee haven’t been very good in spite of the impressive statistics.
A late start to his season
Chapman tested positive for COVID-19 in July and missed the beginning of the regular season. Although he was cleared to return to the team before the end of the month, the closer didn’t get back on the mound for the Yanks until mid-August. As such, the hardthrowing lefty wasn’t the team’s saves leader for the first time since he was initially acquired him for the 2016 season. Zack Britton took the mantle in 2020 with 8 saves to Chapman’s 3.
We only have 13 regular season games to look at, but all indications are that Chapman was his usual self this season. He struck out a ton of batters (48.9 percent) and maintained the same fastball velocity as 2019 (~98 MPH). There were a couple of memorable outings, not in a good way, but there was nothing pointing toward decline for the 32 year-old closer under contract through 2022.
So, about those not so good performances. Chapman blew two saves in the span of a week against the Mets, including getting walked off at Yankee Stadium.