New York Yankees 2020 Projections: Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman is the anchor of the New York Yankees bullpen solidifying that group as the best in Major League Baseball.
There is no doubt that Chapman has been the most successful closer and he is a big reason why the bullpen of the Yankees has been the best in baseball over the last few years. To have a great bullpen you need to have great closer and Chapman has proven that he is a great closer.
As a member of the Cincinnati Reds, he rose to the top of baseball with his 100+ mph fastball that would strike fear into opposing hitters. He made a lot of good hitters look like a child still learning how to play the game but that would end very shortly as the game would evolve to the point when every hitter can hit 95+ mph fastballs and that includes connecting on triple digits. Over the last few years, Chapman evolved with the game of baseball as he has incorporated a slider into his repertoire throwing opposing hitters off of their game.
Prior to the 2016 season, Chapman was acquired by the Yankees. By midseason, he was traded to the Cubs. The Yankees sent Chapman to the Cubs for future sensation Gleyber Torres and he helped Chicago break a 108 year World Series drought.
As soon as the 2016 MLB season was over Chapman became a free agent and a familiar face quickly snagged him. New York signed him to a 5-year deal that was worth approximately $86 million with a player option. After the 2019 season, Chapman signed a 3-year extension worth $48 million.
As the anchor of the Yankees bullpen, Chapman has steadily improved since 2017 when he re-signed with New York becoming one of the most consistent pitchers on the staff. During his time in pinstripes, he was a two-time All-Star and the Reliever of the Year in 2019. Last year was the best year in the Bronx appearing in 60 games, recording 37 saves, pitching 57 innings and a 2.21 ERA. The lasting image Yankees fans have of Chapman in 2019 was giving up that heart-breaking ALCS winning home run to Jose Altuve and walking off the field with a smile on his face.
Fast forward to 2020 and Chapman is ready to go whenever the season begins. If you follow his social media accounts, you can get a firsthand look at how he is spending his time off and getting ready for the start of the season. As we head toward mid-April, there is still no word on when the season will start. Chapman has been working on his durability especially toward the end of the last season so if need be, I am sure that he can go pretty much every game if the season is condensed to say 80 or 90 games.
Chapman is probably the most reliable and most consistent pitcher the Yankees have on the staff besides Gerrit Cole so having that type of player to rely on at the back of the bullpen is the key to success.