Phillies Prospect #43: Chance Chapman

Chance Chapman has been strong in his first two seasons in the Phillies organization, including his first stint in a full-season league in 2008. This season, Chapman could establish himself as a strong prospect with another good showing on the mound.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the eighth round of the 2007 Draft
Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6' 4"  Weight: 210 pounds
Birth Date: February 27, 1984
2008 Team(s): Lakewood
Games/Games Started: 26 G / 23 GS
School: Oral Roberts University
2008 Ranking: 45

Why Chapman jumped two spots: It's always difficult to gauge a pitcher - especially one taken in the eighth round - in just one short-season league, but Chapman looked pretty good in his first pro season with Williamsport in 2007. He followed that up with another strong season for Lakewood in 2008 and is starting to get some recognition for what he's accomplishing. In all honesty, Chapman appears to be poised to truly gain more recognition and become a stronger pitcher based on how he's developing. It's still a bit of a wait-and-see approach, but 2009 could turn out to be big for Chapman. One minor concern is that he'll be 25 when the season starts and is just a tad old for High-A ball, where he's likely to be assigned.

STAT Chance Chapman Eastern League
ERA 2.98 4.02
*DRA 0.65 0.73
H/9 IP 8.61 8.90
HR/9 IP 0.39 0.70
BB/9 IP 2.40 3.12
KO/9IP 7.64 7.84
KO:BB 3.19 2.51
WHIP 1.22 1.34
*WILD 10.16 13.43
*EFF 1.34 1.00
*DRA (Defensive Runs Average) - a measure of how much a pitcher was hurt by his defense. Basically, the number of runs that the defense allowed through errors. The lower this number, the less a pitcher was hurt by his defense.

*WILD (Wildness rating) - a measure of how many  "bad pitches" a pitcher made during an average game, resulting in walks, hit batters and wild pitches. The lower this number, the better for a pitcher.

*EFF (Efficiency rating) - A basic measurement of how a particular pitcher ranks among other pitchers in his particular league. The higher this number, the higher the pitcher ranked among other pitchers in his particular league.

Pitching Style: Chance Chapman isn't a guy who chooses to pitch with finesse. Instead, he generally just digs deep and throws hard, going right at hitters. He's got a good fastball and uses his command to avoid bats, especially by putting his fastball down in the zone. Hitters will tell you that hitting a Chance Chapman fastball can be like hitting a brick; it's a heavy pitch that hitters have trouble getting any distance on. As he starts to move through the system and faces better hitters with better bat speed, some of that will wear off, but as long as he keeps his command and the ability to pitch down in the zone, it won't be too painful. Chapman wasn't quite as efficient at keeping hitters in the park or at getting ground balls as he was at Williamsport, but he was still able to get more ground ball outs than fly ball outs and gave up just six home runs in 139 innings of work.

Projection: The Phillies tried Chapman in the Lakewood bullpen to start the year, but put him in the rotation after just three appearances. While some believe that he may have a shot at being a quality reliever, there is always time to move him to the pen later in his career. For now, he's best suited to pitch as a starter and the Phillies will likely leave him there for the time being. It's likely that Chapman could wind up as a middle of the rotation starter at best, but certainly has shown enough that there is a good chance for him to reach the major league level as something more than a journeyman type pitcher. He's got good, consistent mechanics and knows how to go after hitters. The Phillies love the fact that he pitches down in the zone and makes very few mistakes up in the zone to hitters. That type of pitcher is a good fit for Citizens Bank Park and it's the type of pitcher that the Phillies are looking to develop.

ETA: Since he is just a little old for High-A, it will be interesting to see if the Phillies challenge Chapman with a start at Double-A Reading. He's pitched well enough that if he does start at Clearwater, he could move to Reading before the end of the season, if all goes well. Ideally, Chapman would be making his presence known for an audition late in 2010, but it's likely to be more like the middle of 2011 or the spring of 2012 until he will be fully ready to challenge for a spot with the big league club.

Comparison: Right now, Chapman compares to a young, right-handed version of Randy Wolf. When Wolfie came through the system, he kept the ball down, had good poise on the mound and always seemed to have a game plan when he pitched. Those same traits define Chance Chapman, but it still remains to be seen if he'll wind up having as good of stuff as Wolf had when he progressed through the system. Chapman also pitched just under six innings per start, much like Wolf used to do in the minors.

Chance Chapman's career stats

2007 Williamsport 5 3 2.09 0 14 14 77.2 70 31 18 1 20 67 1.16 .233
7 7 2.98 0 26 23 139.0 133 56 46 6 37 118 1.22 .252
TOTALS 12 10 2.66 0 40 37 216.2 203 87 64 7 57 185 1.20 .245

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