Yankees: Aroldis Chapman’s splitter is getting amazing results in the early going

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman
Oct 19, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) prepares to deliver a pitch during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros in game six of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In the past, New York Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman has encountered a few issues in a couple of specific postseason instances. Basically, teams knew they were going to see a fastball or a slider, and the late-inning reliever can be overpowering but isn’t known for having pinpoint command.

That’s why Chapman wanted to resume using a long-lost weapon: a splitter. The Yankees certainly encouraged him, as it provides the pitcher with a third offering to go with his already great fastball-slider combo.

Chapman recalled seeing fellow Cuban hurler Jose Contreras (who pitched for the Yankees) dominating hitters with a very effective splitter.

The Yankees’ closer worked hard during the offseason to perfect the pitch, and so far, he has been getting great results with it.

“It’s simple: I like it. I like using it,” Chapman said through an interpreter. “It goes back to when I started pitching; unfortunately, when I was playing for the Cincinnati Reds, they didn’t like me throwing that pitch because I was younger at the time and they felt that it was unnecessary. But I’ve always liked using this pitch.”

The Yankees encouraged Chapman to use it

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone has called the pitch “gross”, and pitching coach Matt Blake offered his seal of approval.

“I think he’s becoming a more complete pitcher while also still retaining some of those elite qualities he’s had in the past,” Blake said. “It’s been really impressive to watch so far, and hopefully we can we just continue to see more of it.”

Chapman’s splitter has already generated five punchouts and has an 83.3 whiff rate. “It goes to how comfortable I feel using the split,” Chapman said. “I couldn’t say that I’m completely surprised by the reaction of the hitters, but I am extremely happy with the results. I think it’s about using it in specific counts and certain situations. It’s something that I worked on a lot, so I’m comfortable with the pitch and definitely happy with the results.”