Chapman earns more believers
Reds lefty draws raves in latest live session with hitters
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the second time this spring, Reds hitters got a crack at facing left-hander Aroldis Chapman. The sequel was almost a copy of the original.Chapman threw 30 pitches to Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier, Drew Sutton and Wladimir Balentien in the session. No one made solid contact with their bats. "When you see a guy like that your first couple of days, it gets a little easier from there," Sutton said. "The ball just comes out of his hand different. It gets about halfway and just jumps at you. His changeup had really good spin. You couldn't pick it up that well. Even his slider, it took a little time to pick up the spin." During Francisco's first turn at the plate, Chapman blew fastballs by him before getting him to strike out swinging with a nasty slider. Frazier whiffed at a Chapman changeup during his first turn. "His fastball is heavy. It's got a lot of velocity," Frazier said. "It makes the changeup that much better. He looked really good out there for sure. He can throw, definitely." Sutton worked Chapman a little and watched four consecutive balls go by. During live batting practice, pitchers have a great advantage since they've been in camp longer. Hitters are also working more on their timing and just trying to see the ball after a long layoff.
"I like seeing what the spin looks like and working off of that," Sutton said. "If you see anything different, try to lay off. Those kinds of guys you can't really go on the corner or off the corner. It's hard enough to square it up when it's in the middle of the plate, much less the corner."Catching prospect Devin Mesoraco was behind the plate this time when Chapman pitched. Through three bullpen sessions and two live batting practice sessions, observers have come away thoroughly impressed. "I wanted to get a chance to face him," Frazier said. "It was actually fun just to see what he's all about. He has the stuff. He's proven it to me right now."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.