The Cincinnati Reds are the hottest team in baseball.  They are playing well and getting contributions from everyone on the roster, in addition to have the National League’s best player in Joey Votto.  They entered the final day of August with a six-game lead in the NL Central.

And now they welcome a new member to the bullpen who consistently sends the radar gun into triple digits…

The long-awaited Major League debut of Aroldis Chapman took place last night at Great American Ball Park.  Ironically, fire alarms were sounded at the stadium shortly after he arrived.  Expectations were high and the man dubbed the “Cuban Missile” did not disappoint.

Chapman entered the game in the eighth inning with the Reds holding an 8-3 lead over the Brewers.  The first pitch he threw was a fastball clocked at 98 mph.  He topped out at 102 mph and retired the side in order.

Chapman throws as hard as anyone I have ever seen.  However, the actual velocity of his pitches is not the most impressive thing to me.  His off-speed stuff was flat nasty.  After seeing a fastball north of 100 mph, a breaking pitch that bites that much is almost impossible to hit.

Though Chapman admitted after the game to being nervous, you couldn’t tell during his time on the mound.  He threw eight pitches, seven for strikes.

Baseball can be a very humbling game.  It is important that Reds fans remember that this is a 22-year old kid.  However, he is as talented as anyone I have ever seen.

Read more at Reds Country.

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