The 2010 Major League Baseball season might be in its infancy, however, some fans already have their eyes on the minor leagues and players that might help their big league clubs.
I consider myself one of those nervous bans as Cincinnati has begun to slump on both pitching and offense. One of the most heralded prospects in years for the Reds made his second start of the season at Class AAA Louisville. Cuban free agent signee, Aroldis Chapman hasn't disappointed those who are anxiously awaiting his arrival to bolster a Reds' starting staff that has just one hurler with an ERA under 4.95. By the way, that starter, Mike Leake, didn't throw a single pitch in the minor leagues and has a 2.63 ERA in two starts and 13 2/3 innings of work. The No. 1 and No. 2 starters have a 7.88 ERA (Aaron Harang) and a 4.95 ERA (Bronson Arroyo). That hasn't cut it as the Reds have stumbled out of the gate with a 5-8 record and a five-game losing streak.
Chapman meanwhile has electrified the fan base with his cannon for an arm and has baffled AAA batters in his two starts on the mound.
In his first start of the season against Toledo, Chapman went 4 2/3 innings while allowing five hits and no earned runs and struck out nine Mudhens.
On Saturday afternoon, he picked up the loss, but only because the Riverbats' offense looked much like their major league brethren in falling 3-1 to the Columbus Clippers.
Chapman hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun on three consecutive pitches in the fourth inning and allowed just one run and one hit. He also topped out at 102 MPH twice and according to reports there were audible gasps from the crowd as they saw what his fastball was registering at in his second start. He also helped draw a crowd of 13,131, which was probably more than were on hand to see the Reds get swept at Pittsburgh over the weekend.
If nothing else, Chapman will put fannies in the seats at Great American Ballpark and for a team that has gotten off to as sluggish a start as the Reds have, that could be the deciding factor in how quickly he reaches the majors. There hasn't been much to cheer about this season for Reds fans and Chapman could re-new some interest if the Reds continue to struggle. However, Homer Bailey did the same thing when the major league club brought him up several years ago, but it's still taken him some time to contribute at the major league level.
Fans of the Washington Nationals are keeping an eye on the Harrisburg Senators, a Class AA team in the Eastern League.
Stephen Strasburg, the former No. 1 draft pick out of San Diego State, has struck out 11 in 7 ½ innings over two games.
His first start on April 11, Strasburg went five innings and allowed just one earned run and struck out eight.
The parent club in Washington has gotten off to a 6-6 start this season, but there are no doubt plenty of eyes watching Harrisburg.
The countdown has already begun for the arrival of the two prospects at the major league level and as an already disgruntled fan of a major league club, I'm already looking at the clock.