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Cuban Defector Lands on the Banks of...Cincinnati
Nate Bartling,

Aroldis Chapman, a 6’4” lefty out of Cuba, has agreed to a $30.25 million, six-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds. Chapman, who turns 22 next month, was coveted by many MLB scouts because of his fastball that can crack 100 mph and a game-ready slider.

According to Chapman’s agent, Randy Hendricks, eight teams were in the running for Chapman. With so many teams interested, it was surprising to some that Chapman would settle on a small market team like the Cincinnati Reds.

In Cuba last season, Chapman walked 60 batters and struck out 130 in 118 1/3 innings. Averaging over 10 strikeouts per nine innings over his career in Cuba, Chapman could become a top-tier starter if he can successfully transfer those strikeouts to the Major League level.

Cincinnati’s rotation currently features veterans Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, young guns Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, and Edinson Volquez, who is coming off Tommy John surgery.

Although many scouts consider Aroldis Chapman a MLB-ready prospect, the Reds will most likely start him at their Triple-A affiliate in Louisville to work on his delivery and control. If he develops at the rate that he is expected to, he will most likely make his MLB debut in the later end of the 2010 season.

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