Chapman is latest rookie to join Astros' bullpen
HOUSTON -- Kevin Chapman became the 14th rookie to join the Astros' roster when he was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday to replace left-hander Travis Blackley, who was designated for assignment. The move lowered the Astros' average age to 25.5 years -- the youngest team in baseball.
Chapman, 25, is the fifth rookie member of the Astros' seven-man bullpen. He was 1-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 45 appearances for the RedHawks, with two saves and 61 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings of work. Left-handers were hitting .193 against him.
"The most important thing is to learn," said Chapman, who throws a mid-90s four-seam fastball and a slider. "I'll try to pick [Erik] Bedard's brain and guys like [Lucas] Harrell and Wesley [Wright], and whatever they have to offer, take it in."
Chapman found out he was going to the Major Leagues for the first time Thursday morning during Oklahoma City's series in Las Vegas -- Chapman's first visit to Vegas. He was sleeping late and had his cell phone on silent mode before the Astros tracked him down in his hotel and told him to head to Houston.
"On the plane ride over here, I was thinking this is sort of different, because a lot of these guys were friends that I know pretty well," he said. "It's not like it's going to be a heavy veteran team. It's a little bit different, but it's exciting to have all these guys here. They're all my friends and I got to share my experience with them."
Chapman, acquired last spring from the Royals in exchange for Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero, will be the second rookie reliever to join Houston's bullpen in as many games. Jorge De Leon was called up prior to Wednesday's game, but he's yet to make his Major League debut.
"Chapman threw the ball well in spring and he's thrown the ball well all year," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "You look at the bullpen situation we have, to add a lefty of his caliber that has a mid-90s fastball and has been successful at Triple-A, we felt like it was time to get him here and get him an opportunity for the rest of the season to see what it is he can do, and hopefully he can help us next year all year."