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Where Does Aroldis Chapman Fit With The Pirates? Fantasy Baseball Outlook

Aroldis Chapman - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

The Pittsburgh Pirates have added a high-octane arm to their relief corps as they have signed veteran big leaguer Aroldis Chapman to a one-year, $10.5 million pact for the 2024 campaign. This marks the southpaw's sixth different organization in the big leagues as he has spent time with the Reds, Yankees (twice), Cubs, Royals, and Rangers before joining the Bucs.

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Chapman secured a solid one-year pact thanks to a bounce-back campaign split between the Royals and World Champion Texas Rangers in 2023. That said, he hasn't worked as a full-time closer since the 2021 season while with the Yankees, something he will be hard-pressed to do in 2024.

His role with the Pirates is far from settled despite the lucrative single-season pact. Another question is whether his 2023 bounce-back was fictional or not. Finally, what does his new team (and new role) do to his fantasy baseball stock? Let's have a look at this signing from all angles.

 

Aroldis Chapman's Fit With the Pirates

Chapman was able to parlay a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Royals last season into an eventual World Series championship and a pact nearly three times that size almost exactly one year to the day. He did so by tossing a healthy 3.09 ERA across 61 appearances, locking down nine saves in the process.

Additionally, he worked to a 2.52 FIP, 2.95 SIERA, and a monstrous 41.4% K%, a major increase from his diminished 26.9% 2022 mark. While he still struggled with control by way of a 14.5% BB%, his 26.9% K-BB% tied for the third-highest figure among relievers with at least 50 innings pitched last season. His 99.1 mph average on his four-seam fastball was his best figure since 2017 and his 101.1 figure on his sinker was his best since 2019.

The bounce-back appears very real. He could certainly be a major boon to the back end of the Pirates' bullpen. However, just where does he fit within that group?

First off, he's not going to supplant incumbent Pirates closer David Bednar. Not after a 2.00 ERA alongside 39 saves in 66 appearances and an ERA of 2.61 or better in each of the last three campaigns. Colin Holderman and Carmen Mlodzinski were very good last year as well, even if Mlodzinski's 2.25 ERA was roughly half of his 4.40 SIERA.

Chapman may get the odd save opportunity on days Bednar isn't available. He will certainly work into the holds conversation while racking up a ton of strikeouts. He is currently RotoBaller's 31st-ranked relief pitcher after many of the projected full-time closers have passed.

The soon-to-be 36-year-old is certainly worthy of a late-round pick in leagues that reward holds as he should see a heavy workload and a high strikeout volume, likely in some form of a consistent setup role to Bednar in 2024.



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