Phillies Prospect #39: Chance Chapman

Chance Chapman seems well suited to relieving, both in his repertoire and personality. His first season in the pros as a reliever went well and should be his ticket to rising quickly through the last couple of levels in the minors.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 8th round of the 2007 Draft
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 4"   Weight: 210 lbs.
Birth Date: February 27, 1984
2009 Team(s): Reading (38 G), Clearwater (11 G)
Games/Games Started: 49 G / 2 GS
School: Oral Roberts University
2009 Ranking: 43

Why Chapman moved up to #39: Chance Chapman made the move from the rotation to the bullpen last season and is likely better suited to his new role. He adapted quickly and made a combined 47 relief appearances between Clearwater and Reading in 2009 with very good results. While his strikeouts to walks ratio did take a bit of a dip from his days as a starter, he was able to keep his WHIP at a very strong 1.08 between his two stops. Chapman turns 26 in just a few days, so not having to spend an entire season at Clearwater is a help to him and it's not likely that he'll need a full season at Double-A either, so he could be poised for a launch to the Triple-A level by later in the 2010 season, which puts him on a decent ascent toward the majors.

CATEGORY Chance Chapman Eastern League
ERA 2.73 3.89
H/9 IP 7.3 8.8
HR/9 IP 0.5 0.7
BB/9 IP 3.1 3.5
KO/9 IP 8.4 7.1
WHIP 1.16 1.37
WP/9 IP 0.3 0.4
A player's stat posted in white indicates that he performed above the league average in that category. A player's stat posted in black indicates that he performed below the league average in that category.

Repertoire: Chapman has a nice slider that tails away from right-handed hitters and combines that with one of those fastballs that feel more like hitting a basketball than hitting a baseball. He can keep both pitches down in the zone and has good control with both. His change-up is only an average pitch, but as a reliever, he'll be able to just pull it out of his bag of tricks here and there to keep hitters honest, while relying on his much better fastball and slider to get hitters out.

Pitching Style: There isn't much finesse to Chance Chapman. He pretty much goes right at hitters and isn't afraid to challenge them. He's poised, yet very determined on the mound and loves to pitch late in games, evidenced by his performance in ninth innings last season. Between his two stops, Chapman pitched eight times in the ninth inning and in those eight innings, allowed hitters to hit just .120 (3-for-25) and gave up one walk while striking out eight hitters. That's the type of poise you like to see from a young pitcher late in a game.

Projection: It's likely that Chapman will start out at Double-A Reading, at least for a short while in 2010. It shouldn't be too long though until he's able to make the move up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and join the bullpen there. He's likely going to wind up as a middle innings or setup man in the majors, but it will be interesting to see if the Phillies decide to move him into a closing role during the season, since he handled the two save opportunities that he had last season with little problem. The problem is that B.J. Rosenberg and Phillippe Aumont are also at about the same level as Chapman, although Rosenberg could start the year at Lehigh Valley. That would leave Aumont and Chapman to battle for save opportunities with the R-Phils.

Comparison: Although Ryan Madson wasn't exposed to relieving prior to hitting the majors with the Phillies in 2004, Chapman and Madson are very similar pitchers. Both don't pull any punches in going after hitters and both handle pressure situations very well. 

Chance Chapman's career stats

2007 Williamsport 5 3 2.09 14 14 0 77.2 70 31 18 1 20 67 1.159 3.35
2008 Lakewood 7 7 2.98 26 23 0 139.0 133 56 46 6 37 118 1.223 3.19
2009 Clearwater 3 1 0.77 11 1 1 23.1 14 2 2 0 7 18 0.900 2.57
2009 Reading 7 1 2.73 38 1 1 52.2 43 16 16 3 18 49 1.158 2.72
2009 2 Teams 10 2 2.13 49 2 2 76.0 57 18 18 3 25 67 1.079 2.68
3 Seasons 22 12 2.52 89 39 2 292.2 260 105 82 10 82 252 1.169 3.07

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