Cincinnati Reds fans, know I don't take this lightly. Rick Ankiel's career is one of the saddest-then-happiest events in my baseball lifetime, and his devolution from a left-handed 20-year-old whose mid-90s fastball was his second-best pitch to a 21-year-old who couldn't differentiate the catcher from the backstop is one of the most depressing moments in the history of pitching prospects. So I wouldn't compare Aroldis Chapman's recent problems to Ankiel's unless I was good and sure about it.â†µ
Chapman is certainly not so dramatic as the Nationals outfielder was; Ankiel threw five wild pitches and hit three batters in his six starts in 2001, the first regular season after his NLDS meltdown in 2000. But Chapman has now walked nine of the last 12 batters he's faced, and his 20 walks in 13 innings is considerably worse than Ankiel's 25 in 24.
I think the solution here isn't necessarily to send him down, although that might be part of it. The Reds need to try him in a rotation, whether in Cincinnati or Louisville. It's hard to ask a guy who's afraid of walking every batter he might face to come in and just get one or two guys out.â†µ