Aroldis Chapman is in the midst of a revival season, and a postseason contender is counting on him to top it.
The Texas Rangers acquired the left-handed reliever from the Kansas City Royals as they look to maintain their lead in the AL West.
The Rangers’ offense may be the best in all of baseball. His 5.96 runs per game, .274 batting average, and .343 on-base percentage are all the best in the league.
His starters have a combined 3.51 ERA this year, second-best in the majors.
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However, there is one clear flaw on the team, and it’s the bullpen. The Rangers’ relievers have combined for a 4.37 ERA this season, seventh-worst in the MLB.
Chapman joined the Royals on a one-year deal after spending part of his previous seven seasons with the New York Yankees.
Chapman had been underestimated for most of his tenure with the Bombers. But in his final season with them, he lost the closer’s job because of his 4.46 ERA. He lost control of himself and the faith of Yankees fans after giving up season-ending home runs in 2019 and 2020.
But it’s having a resurgent 2023. He has cut his ERA to 2.45 (he’s at 2.47 in his career) and is striking out 16.3 batters per nine innings. That would be his third-best K/9 of his career (17.7 in 2014 and 17.0 in the abbreviated 2020 season).
Chapman’s plumb is averaging 101.3 mph this year, while his four-seam machine leaves his hand at 99.4 mph on average, both of which top last year’s marks of 100.2 and 97.5, respectively. It may not be the 105 he used to throw, but it’s still clearly effective.
Kansas City acquired two minor leaguers in the deal, and with a 23-58 record and Chapman on a one-year contract, it was an easy decision to trade him.
Texas is 49-32, leads its division by five games and has filled a big hole in the bullpen.
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The Rangers have yet to win a World Series despite reaching the Fall Classic in 2010 and 2011.