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Too early to declare 'Chapmania' in Rhineland?

After three outings and seven whole innings, is it too early for Chapmania? Aroldis Chapman's fine outing on Wednesday has Redleg Nation pretty worked up ...

At this point, you gotta believe that Chapman is going to break camp with the Reds if he keeps this up. I just don’t know how they’d justify sending him to the minors when they could have a latter-day “Fernando-mania” situation on their hands. Chapman would put butts in the seats…not to mention the fact that he certainly looks like the Reds best pitcher right now. (I still think the minors is the best option, at least initially, but sheesh…this kid keeps impressing.)

--snip--

Ten strikeouts, two walks. His control has been pretty good so far, with all his pitches. Is it possible that the instruction Chapman has received since arriving on these shores has already put the kid over the top? Should we induct pitching coach Bryan Price into the Reds Hall of Fame yet?

You know, I have a tendency to get over-excited in the spring anyway, but this is ridiculous. I’ve never seen anything like it.

It's been a while, but my recollection is that Fernandomania was fueled, to some degree anyway, by the great number of Spanish-speaking baseball fans in Southern California. In Cincinnati, there are more Neyers than Martinezes. (I do exaggerate, but the Neyers really are big in Cincinnati; there's a reason that area used to be known as "the Rhineland.")

So I'm not read to predict Chapmania. I'm not even ready to predict more than a dozen wins in Chapman's rookie season.

I will predict that he'll pitch better in 2010 than Micah Owings and the rest of the weak field of candidates challenging Chapman for the Reds' No. 5 slot in the rotation.

Of course, we still have all the usual questions about young pitchers. Is he really 22? How many innings did he really throw last year? How many innings should he throw this year? Should the Reds keep him down for a couple of months so he doesn't qualify for arbitration after 2012?

Complicating things even further: 1) Dusty Baker's history with brilliantly talented young pitchers; 2) suggestions that the Reds have a decent shot at getting into the playoffs this season.