Gaining Some Closure on Aroldis Chapman’s Role
It seemed more and more likely as Spring Training went on, but it’s now being reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds will announce that Aroldis Chapman will serve as their closer in 2013. And with a second straight season of this, it’s more likely than ever than Chapman will never make a major league start for the Reds. Dusty Baker wants Chapman to close, and Chapman wants Chapman to close, so it looks like we have as much clarity on his role going forward than we have at any point in his career. Assuming this is all true (the team has still not officially given word on this).
Back in November, I wrote this post about Chapman and how to value him going forward. But now, we can look at this his value with more certainty. In 2012, he was worth approximately $27 in 2012, putting up one of the most dominant closer season we’ve seen in recent memory. And the great thing for his fantasy owners is that he’s fully capable of doing this again. He and Craig Kimbrel become the dominant closer options, who should be valued as top-75 overall players for this current season.
However, while his value goes up from a 2013 perspective, it ticks slightly down in a dynasty league. In my Top 500, I had Chapman ranked 10 spots about Kimbrel because of both his dominant closer floor and his potentially impact starting pitcher ceiling. With the odds of that ceiling happening any time soon, he’d now bump down around 10-15 spots, likely settling within a few spots of Craig Kimbrel.
And Chapman is not the only one that this news affects. Here are some other guys who see their values change this morning:
If your league doesn’t count holds, you can go ahead and drop Broxton right after the Reds make this official, outside of deeper NL-only formats. He’s not good enough at pitching to be a valuable fantasy player without the potential for saves. For those of you who drafted him earlier this month, or picked him up towards the end of last season, the good news is that you probably didn’t pay too high of a price for him. It happens – adjust and move on.
Hoover’s stock goes down as well, but it’s not nearly as precipitous of a fall as Broxton’s. He looked to be the "next guy in line" if/when Broxton faltered in the role, but with Chapman in the role, and Broxton ready at the helm to jump back in if something happens, Hoover’s value in deep mixed leagues drops through the floor. With that said, I think I’d rather have Hoover than Broxton in both dynasty and NL-only formats.
The biggest gainer in this role definition is Leake, who is now pretty comfortably projected to be the Reds’ fifth starter. He’s no great shakes, and he’s not worth paying attention to in shallower leagues, but in deep and single-league formats, he’s a name to track. Last season, he failed to duplicate the solid performance from his rookie season, but it was partially a decline in underlying skills and partially expected regression. He is capable of putting up a 4.25 ERA, while accumulating 12-14 wins on what should be a very good Reds team – though the strikeouts will likely be underwhelming. One final interesting note about Leake – his fastball velocity has increased every year of his career so far, and reports this spring have clocked him in the low-90’s (he averaged 89.7 MPH in 2012). Another tick up could really help his baseline performance level.
Cingrani was the #91 prospect on my Top 150 list from January, and he’s now got a case to be first in line if someone gets hurt in the Reds’ rotation (or if Mike Leake is just ineffective). He dominated the minor leagues in 2012, but the jury is still out on whether he can be a starter. Chapman moving to the bullpen gives him a better odds to get that chance to establish himself as an every fifth day kind of guy. After all, his competition during the first half of the year is likely Armando Galarraga.
I’m not the world’s biggest Corcino fan, but he’s also a name to tuck away if things start to go astray with the Cincinnati starting five. He took a step backwards in Double-A last year, after being very impressive in Low-A the previous season – and if he can rediscover some of that magic in the first half of the 2013 season, he could put himself in a position to do contribute in the second half.
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