New York Yankees: It’s Time to Give Chapman His Job Back

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Aroldis Chapman (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Aroldis Chapman (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Since New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulled him from his closing role and announced a “closer by committee” arrangement, the Cuban Missile has regained his form. It’s now time to bring him back.

Seeing this headline probably gave you flashbacks to the Rafael Devers  game-tying home run or just any other mid-August loss Aroldis Chapman contributed to, and while Chapman certainly has yet to regain his place New York Yankees fans hearts, he has certainly regained his form on the mound.

Chapman is the same old version of himself, and may even me a little bit better in some aspects.

Below are various metrics comparing how Chapman pitched up to August 5th, during his abysmal stretch between August 11th and August 18th, and since then. (All statistics are compliments of FanGraphs)

Normal Chappy (Through 8/05)Get This Man Away From a Mound Chappy (8/11-8/18)Good Ol’ Chappy (8/20-9/01)
ERA 2.8714.542.45
K/9 12.9310.3812.27
BB/9  3.4510.382.45
Opp Avg 0.2230.2940.214
Oppo% 36.0%50.0%22.2%
Swing% 50.4%39.1%52.9%

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Velocity has never been the issue for Chapman this season. His averages have yet to dip below 100 mph on his fastball, so in that respect he has never changed.

But in almost every other possible respect, he did.

His ERA spiked a solid 407%. His strikeout rate equaled his walk rate. Hitters swung the bat less often, and still managed to hit at an increased rate.  And, half of opposing contact went the opposite way–against the shift. So yeah, he was bad.

Except, that Chapman is in the past, and hopefully for good, with the Yankees heating up for a shot at the Red Sox atop the division, winning four of their last five.

His ERA has dropped to better than normal, his strikeouts are up while his walks are down, hitters are batting at even lower clip, and they are no longer taking advantage with opposite field contact.

So Joe, I was all for the “closer by committee” idea in the interim, but there’s a reason why the Yankees made him the highest paid reliever in MLB history last offseason.

When he’s ready, he’s ready.

Next: Series win means more than the division for the Yankees

And Aroldis Chapman is ready to be pitching the 9th again.