Wednesday, August 16, 2017


When you appear as the subject of the Crisis Point feature for a second time during the course of the fantasy baseball season, you know you got some problems.  Such is the case for New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman who struggled yet again Tuesday night in giving up a two-run home run to New York Mets rookie shortstop Amed Rosario before finishing things off for the save.  Unfortunately it appears as though Chapman also injured his hamstring but he said afterward it was not a major deal.  Be that as it may, Chapman has been pretty crummy for large segments of the 2017 season and even this past Sunday he gave up a game-winning home run to another rookie, this time Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers.  The home runs given up against rookies could signal that Chapman's cloak of invincibility is vanishing among opposing hitters and the numbers this season could lead those who carry a bat to feel that way.  Consider the statistics Chapman carries into Wednesday's action:

3.89 ERA
1.33 WHIP
12.72 K/9
16 saves in 20 chances

No matter where you look, the numbers are well off the career marks for Chapman.  For starter's, the 12.72 K/9; while still a very impressive number; is quite a ways down from the 13.97 last season or the 15.74 in 2015.  Or the 17.67 in 2014.  There is a noticeable trend here though as Chapman's K/9 has slipped four straight years which is not the trend you want to see.  There are only so may nuclear missiles in a pitcher's arm and Chapman could be losing them right before our eyes.  In addition, Chapman's control is horrendous and at career-worst levels right now as evidenced by his 4.15 BB/9.  That is a simply brutal number and especially troubling for a closer.  Chapman is fighting his stuff like never before and it could portend to trouble with his arm.  And that trouble could be emanating from the ridiculous usage Chapman suffered from under Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon in last season's postseason/World Series.  Even Chapman expressed dismay about how Maddon used him and the correlation doesn't seem to be a coincidence given how bad he has pitched this season and the health problems he has also suffered through.  And again Chapman struggling with his stuff, control, and results can all be pointed to that usage.

Last but not least, Chapman's 0.52 HR/9 rate is his highest since 2013 and again opposing hitters don't seem to be having trouble catching up with his stuff.  Problems all the way around and now Chapman could be headed to the DL with a hamstring injury.  This means Dellin Betances will close in his place and so a look at your league's waiver wire to see if he was dropped is on order.  As for Chapman, he joins Zach Britton as astronomical bombs in 2017 fantasy baseball among closers.

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