Boone: Aroldis needs heater to be a 'feature'

September 6th, 2021

NEW YORK -- In Saturday’s 4-3 loss against the Orioles, it seemed like relied heavily on secondary pitches like his slider rather than his blazing fastball, which is his best pitch and is often clocked in the high 90s or in triple digits.

Chapman said after the loss that he never lost confidence in the fastball. But manager Aaron Boone acknowledged to reporters on Monday that Chapman, at times, has gone away from the fastball a little too much.

“Part of that is the confidence he has on his secondary pitches and his ability to strike the breaking ball,” Boone said. “But I think it is important to always make sure that the fastball is a feature for him.

“Usually when he is throwing the fastball well and for strikes … that’s an indication he is in line with his delivery, and the secondary pitches can work off of that.”

Chapman, one of the best closers in baseball history, is arguably having his worst season statistically, sporting a career-high 3.72 ERA with 25 saves, which is third in the American League behind Liam Hendriks and Raisel Iglesias. Before the All-Star break, Chapman had a 4.55 ERA, but he has posted a solid 2.20 ERA after the break.