Yanks met with Chapman during Game Six

While the current Yankees were busy clinching a trip to the World Series last night, a potential future Yankee was busy meeting with GM Brian Cashman and several club officials. Cuban southpaw Aroldis Chapman attended Game Six as a fan (and as a “guest of the team“), and apparently at some point sat down with the braintrust and had what Jorge Arangure called “good conversations.” For what it’s worth, Chapman has already spoken to the Mets at CitiField.

Now that Yusei Kikuchi is staying in Japan, Chapman is easily the most coveted amateur player in the world. Speculation is that he’ll get $40-60MM, but I bet he “settles” for closer to $20M. Signing a completely unproven pitcher to that kind of cash could be career suicide.

Yanks meeting with Chapman delayed

Once we found out that Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman was coming to New York to speak with various GM’s about potential employment, it was only a matter of time before we heard the Yanks were scheduled to meet with him. Well, as ESPN’s Jorge Arangure tweets, the Yanks meeting with the southpaw was pushed back because the ALCS is running a little long. Don’t worry, I’m sure Chapman and his agent will give the filthy stinkin’ rich Yankees every opportunity to bid for his services before making a decision.

Linkage: Chapman, Kikuchi, HOF, PitchFX

A bevy of links that warrant a mention, but not their own posts…

  • As you’ve probably heard by now, Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman is in New York to visit with several GM’s. Both the Yankees and Mets are expected to meet with him,  and the Red Sox definitely will. Speculation is that he’ll get $40-50M, but I bet he ends with closer to $15M. In the end, he’s still just a minor league pitcher that’s a year or two away from the big leagues.
  • In other amateur lefthanded pitcher news, Japanese teenager Yusei Kikuchi may announce his intentions to either stay in Japan or come to the States in the coming days. Ben wrote a bunch more about Kikuchi and the Yanks over the weekend.
  • Who do you think is a better Hall of Fame candidate: Johnny Damon, or Bobby Abreu? Rob Neyer thinks it’s Damon, I’m going with Bobby. There’s only 40 players in the history of the game that have reached base 4,000 times in their career, and 38 of those players are in the HOF, or will be soon. Abreu should reach that total within three years.
  • This isn’t Yankee related, but it’s a great piece on Cardinals assistant GM John Abbamondi, who discusses the place of advanced analysis in baseball. Nick Steiner at THT highlights part of the article where Abbamondi talks about how they use PitchFX data to supplement the evaluations of their scouts. Fascinating stuff.

Link Dump: Aroldis Chapman Edition

Cuban southpaw Aroldis Chapman is primed to be a hot topic this winter, and just like with every other big name free agent, the Yankees figure to be interested in his services. Let’s round up the latest news surrounding the 21-yr old…

  • Major League Baseball officially declared Chapman a free agent over the weekend, so he could technically sign with any team today, if he wanted.
  • Back in July when he originally defected, I asked Keith Law what he thought about him during one of his ESPN chats. Here’s what he said: “I talked to a longtime scout – I mean, been at this 40 years – in the spring who said he was the best young LHP he’d ever seen. On good days he’ll touch 100 with a slider in the upper 80s, but he hasn’t been that guy every time out – I talked to another scout who saw him last year, I believe in Beijing, who had him topping out around 90 – and there are all kinds of rumors as to why. The upside probably puts him into $40-50 million territory, if not more …”
  • Here’s the PitchFX data for Chapman’s start against Japan in this year’s World Baseball Classic. As you can see, he topped out at 100.2 mph, but it looks like he tired because his velo dropped after 40 pitches or so. That’s not a really big concern, no one’s in tip-top shape in March.
  • Clay Davenport at Baseball Prospectus used some historical data translate Chapman’s stats in Cuba to the low levels of the minors here, and while the 9.3 K/9 is pretty, the 2.5 HR/9 and 7.4 BB/9 are awful. However, four of his closest statistical comps (Brian Fuentes, Mike Gonzalez, Scott Linebrink, and Oliver Perez) have gone on to have varying degrees of big league success.
  • Chapman would probably rank as one of the top 25 prospects in the game according to Baseball America’s Jim Callis, although he wouldn’t supplant Jesus Montero as the Yanks’ top farmhand. No one tops the Jesus.
  • And last, but certainly not least, here’s a clip of the kid in action.

Getting to know Aroldis Chapman

Sheesh, didn’t think the news could be slow after three straight wins over the Red Sox, but it is. Luckily Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN penned a piece on Cuban defectee Aroldis Chapman, who literally walked out the front door of a Netherlands hotel in July while in town for a tournament. All the attention gets paid to Chapman’s triple digit fastball, but there’s more to the man who left his family and a child behind to pursue his dream. Make sure you check it out.