When Should The Reds Call Up Chapman?

In the past week, we've taken looks at when the Rangers should call up Justin Smoak and when the Indians should call on Carlos Santana to take over behind the dish. In both of these cases, we looked at teams with glaring holes on their major league club and hot prospects in the wings, so let's look at another.

The Reds entered today's contest with a 6.55 ERA from their rotation, second-worst in all of baseball to Pittsburgh. As a group, they're allowing 4.01 walks per nine innings, and opposing hitters are batting .292 against them. It's no secret that they've got a fireballing lefty at Triple-A Louisville in Aroldis Chapman. While control has been an issue through his first three starts (10 BB through 15 innings), he's managed to strike out 18 batters and allowed just nine hits and one earned run.

Unfortunately for Cincinnati, working Chapman into the rotation may be difficult. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are making $12.5MM and $11MM, respectively. Homer Bailey is out of options. It's possible to option Johnny Cueto back to Triple-A, but despite his 5.73 ERA on the season, he's actually been their second-best starter. Mike Leake, their fifth starter, is the only one of the bunch who has shown any success this season.

The Reds emerged seemingly from nowhere to sign the 21-year-old Chapman to a six-year, $30.25MM deal this offseason. While some originally thought that he wouldn't be a part of the club's plans early in 2010 (or perhaps even at all), his impressive spring vaulted him into consideration for the rotation. Leake eventually won the battle, but the Reds need an improvement in their starting pitching. They've managed eight wins, but that trend simply can't keep up if the current lack of production from their rotation continues.

It's a slow day, so let's leave it open to discussion. Should the Reds call up Chapman any time soon, and if so, how should they go about it? A trade of Harang or Arroyo could be difficult to facilitate. We've seen both Carlos Zambrano and Jeff Suppan moved to the bullpen this week; could the Reds continue the trend with Harang? Or is Cincinnati better off letting Chapman develop his control more in Louisville, while waiting for their starters to right the ship?



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