That was the speed of a fastball delivered last Friday night in Louisville by
The raw but precociously talented former star of the Cuban national team will now get his first crack at the major leagues. The Reds are promoting Chapman before tonight's game to complement crafty veteran
Chapman, who has allowed just two earned runs in his last 21-2/3 minor league innings, headlines the list of September call-ups in the annual late-season rite of passage for promising young players who get a taste of the majors when rosters expand from 25 players to 40. In Chapman's case, his promotion comes one day in advance of Sept. 1, making him eligible for the Reds' postseason roster should they stave off a late charge by the Cardinals. (A few others on the list below, even if they're called up in September, could participate in the playoffs as replacements for players who are on the disabled list.)
Chapman's long-term future is as a starter, but he's more helpful to the Reds as a reliever, so after making 13 starts at Triple A Louisville, he was shifted to the bullpen in late June. Several other September call-ups will also be utilized for only a part of their skill set as they help their clubs make a playoff push. Others will become everyday players in the hope they will provide fans with a coming attraction.
Youth has already made quite an impact this season. The National League boasts a host of strong rookie-of-the-year candidates, and other late-season call-ups have been making a difference, due to a starter's injury at the major league level or because their teams, such as the Orioles and Pirates, have been playing for the future most of the season. So while you know about pitchers like the Rays'
Several promising pitchers (such as the Mariners'
So in addition to Chapman, be on the lookout for:
Since being traded from the White Sox for reliever
The starter who opposed Chapman on the day the lefty hit 105 on the gun was Carrasco. His fastball was below 100, but he allowed just one run over seven innings in what was most likely his final minor league start. A week ago, Indians manager
Once upon a time, Fields was the star of the White Sox farm system. He was a two-sport star at Oklahoma State as a third baseman and quarterback, a first-round pick by Chicago in 2004, and he homered in his first major league at bat, in 2006. The following year, his OBP was only .308 but he hit 23 homers in 100 games in the big leagues. Then his development hit a wall: a combined .214 with a .292 OBP and seven homers in 93 major league games in '08 and '09, during which time he lost his job to
The Indians have been unable to find any meaningful offense at third base since the trade of
Long considered the heir apparent to free-agent-to-be
Less heralded and older than Chapman, the 28-year-old Maya quietly signed a four-year, $6 million contract on July 31. He won the Cuban National Series' equivalent of the Cy Young Award last year after going 13-4 with seven complete games and a 2.22 ERA. In four starts on three minor league levels in August, he was 0-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 15-2/3 innings, but had 15 strikeouts. After defecting last fall, Maya wasn't cleared to sign with a major league team until May, so building his arm strength back has been a process. He's expected to join fellow Cuban
Hellickson isn't the only Ray getting a crash course in relief pitching in the minors. McGee, a 6'-3" lefty, is doing it at Triple A, presumably in order to help the big league club this fall. He had a 3.57 ERA in 19 starts in Double A before he was promoted to Durham, where he's made one start and seven relief appearances with spectacular results. He has yet to allow an earned run in 12-2/3 innings and has yielded only four hits and one walk while striking out 20.
A 6'-6", 260-pound corner outfielder, Taylor hasn't had quite the season he likely expected in Triple A. He's hit .263 with just five home runs and a poor .381 slugging percentage, but he was a coveted prospect in the Phillies system. He was traded last offseason amid a flurry of deals at the time Philadelphia acquired
Trumbo has little more to prove in Triple A after belting his Salt Lake Bees-record 32nd and 33rd home runs on Monday night. He also has 113 RBI and a .302 average in 132 games. This is his first year at Triple A, but it's surprising that he didn't get an earlier shot at the majors, given the injury to Angels first baseman