The Braves announced on Monday that they’ve claimed left-handed reliever Kevin Chapman off waivers from the Astros. Houston reportedly placed the 29-year-old Chapman on waivers over the weekend. Atlanta had an open spot on its 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is necessary.
Chapman is out of minor league options, so the Braves will need to either carry him on their roster to start the season or once again expose him to waivers if they hope to send him to the minor leagues. The former fourth-round pick has a career 4.09 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 43.1 percent ground-ball rate in 55 big league innings.
While Chapman saw quite a bit of time in the Majors in 2013-14, he’s logged just 13 1/3 combined innings with the Astros over the past two seasons as they’ve relied heavily on Tony Sipp as the primary (and in many cases only) left-handed option in manager A.J. Hinch’s bullpen.
Chapman struggled in Triple-A this past season (4.87 ERA in 61 innings) but does have a strong track record at that level, where he’s worked to a collective 3.67 ERA and racked up 262 strikeouts in 208 2/3 innings (11.3 K/9). He’s also struggled with his control throughout his minor league tenure, however, as evidenced by a career 4.7 BB/9 rate in the minors (4.9 in Triple-A). Chapman doesn’t dominate opposing lefties and permits them to reach too often via walk, but he’s also prevented them from hitting for any sort of power against him. In total, same-handed opponents have batted .263/.354/.325 against Chapman in the Majors. He’ll give the Braves an additional lefty option for the bullpen and compete with the likes of Ian Krol, Paco Rodriguez and non-roster invitee Eric O’Flaherty for a spot at the end of camp.