He is no longer trustworthy or reliable enough to protect late-inning leads, his command is way off, and he doesn’t trust his fastball command since last season.
Before Monday’s games, the left-handed flamethrower had a 3.86 ERA, with an ugly 4.95 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) in 14 innings.
A few physical issues have affected him from that point to this day, but it seems that the league’s decision to ban the use of foreign substances on the ball by pitchers has really affected Chapman’s performance.
Since that fateful month (June 2021), Chapman hasn’t been able to grip the ball the way he used to, and his control has suffered.
According to the always reliable Codify Baseball, Chapman is suffering, in addition to the spotty command, from another ailment: diminished velocity.
“% of Aroldis Chapman fastballs not at least 97 MPH: 2017 —–> 2.5%. 2022 —–> 45%,” they tweeted.
% of Aroldis Chapman fastballs not at least 97 MPH:
2017 —–> 2.5%
2022 —–> 45%
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) May 22, 2022
The Flamethrower Is Not Throwing As Hard As He Used To
Nearly half of his fastballs traveled at least 97 mph five years ago: this year, only 2.5 percent have been clocked at a higher velocity than that.
That is worrisome for a man who has built his career around fastball velocity.
Over the last few years, Chapman has thrown a slider and developed a solid splitter, but when his fastball is off, so is his game and, as a consequence, his numbers.
His 6.43 walks per nine innings are his highest mark since 2011, and he is not fooling as many hitters as he used to this year.
Of course, time is still on his side, but the Yankees are, understandably, running out of patience.
Will they make a switch and replace Chapman as the closer?