Tim Anderson quote proves MLB catching up to Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman


On Saturday night, the 2022 New York Yankees lost a baseball game the way they typically seem to, only once every other series or so.

The bats went oddly silent (though not so odd in ’22). They kept it close, though. They fought back. Then Aroldis Chapman entered for the ninth and frittered their progress away.

You don’t see it much; after all, the Yankees are still under 10 losses on the season entering play Monday, occupying rarefied air with recent champions like the 2018 Red Sox and 2016 Cubs. But when the Yanks do falter, real fans know it often seems to look like this, with Chapman inheriting anything from a three-run lead to a tie game and swiftly turning it into a high-wire act.

From the eye test to the advanced metrics rundown, nothing about Chapman’s roughly average season lines up with his sterling ERA. For years now, it’s felt as if his high-end stuff has been lapped by the league’s truly elite relievers, leaving the inconsistent left-hander a tier below as he ages out of electricity.

Don’t take our word for it, though.

White Sox star Tim Anderson echoed what Yankee fans were thinking after he got a game-winning rally started by casually fighting off a 99 MPH fastball in and turning it into a line drive single.

Chapman’s not anything special anymore. “Kinda regular,” actually.

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will be a problem come the 2022 MLB Playoffs

For a multitude of reasons, Chapman can forget about receiving a shiny new contract from the Yankees as he approaches the age of 35. But his parlor trick fastball growing old should be chief among them.

The worst part for Chapman? Anderson’s off-the-cuff quote centered around him throwing “99 MPH” doesn’t even tell the full story. Compared to his heyday, Chapman’s average fastball velocity was down about 2.5 ticks towards the end of 2021. Now, 99 is the peak he eventually revs up to — if he’s lucky. On occasion, he can’t seem to sneak past 95-96.

Pair that velocity decrease with occasionally off-kilter control, and you’ve got a bullpen “weapon” you can either wait out or tee off on.

His walk percentage leaves him in the 2nd percentile across MLB. His chase rate, on all these devastating pitches outside the zone, is just in the 30th percentile. In other words, Chapman walks nearly a batter per inning because his pitches off the plate are nowhere close to the plate. He’s not fooling anyone, and he’s hittable at the heart of the zone.

Anderson’s not telling fans something they don’t already know, but he’s certainly laying things bare, identifying the Yankees’ potential No. 1 problem ahead of an October run: everything comes down to the one guy you don’t want to hand the ball to.