In the 2013 season, a total of ten pitchers made their big league debut while wearing an Astros uniform. Kevin Chapman was one of the ten. Chapman was called up in August and logged 20& 1/3 innings in 25 appearances down the stretch. The small sample size produced a nice 1.77 ERA and .178 batting average against — as well as a 4.28 FIP and a 13.5% walk rate.
Chapman, who turns 26 in February, is a 2-pitch pitcher — fastball, slider. With a heater that sits consistently in the low nineties, Kevin isn’t exactly overpowering. His best asset, perhaps, is the fact that he is left-handed.
Although he has produced some outstanding strikeout numbers (11.0 K/9 IP) throughout his minor league career, walks (5.0 BB/9 IP) have always been a problem. The ability to harness his command will be the determining factor in Chapman’s role going forward. Right now his lefty/righty splits suggest he is destined to be a left-handed specialist.
It will be interesting to see if new pitching coach and biomechanics expert Brent Strom is able to transform Chapman into something more than a LOOGY. I would expect the Astros to bring in a few guys to battle Chapman for that role during Spring Training. Hopefully Chapman is able to improve upon his control and nail down a spot in the Astros bullpen. But, more than likely, a few trips between Houston and Oklahoma City are in Kevin’s immediate future.