Sunday was a good day to be a baseball fan in Altoona, Pa. or Toledo, Ohio. And with no disrespect to the fine people of those two cities (all right, maybe the teeniest bit of disrespect), that sentence by itself ought to be all the scouting report you need on Stephen Strasbug and Aroldis Chapman.
While Atlanta Braves uber-rookie Jason Heyward found there are pitchers even he can't touch yet (Tim Lincecum) and then showed how rare a club that is (hitting his third home run of the season off Jeremy Affeldt, who relieved Lincecum), Strasburg and Chapman made their season debuts on the road in the minors. Strasburg struck out eight in five innings to earn a win for Harrisburg at Altoona. while Chapman struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings for Louisville at Toledo.
The Nationals are surprisingly off to a .500 start, although they've been outscored by 15 runs in six games, but it's not clear that either they or the Reds will feel the push of a pennant race to hurry along a future ace. But which pitcher will have a bigger footprint in the majors in 2010?
Did you hear that collective sigh of relief in Atlanta when Heyward his that first one? Should they be worried about Chipper's injury?
Clay, I was at the game, and it sounded a lot more like an explosion than a sigh. The Braves aren't worried about Heyward because he appears to be such a mature, selective hitter (although I'm sure he's going to go through a rough stretch or two). As for Chipper, yeah, they have to be concerned about him staying in the lineup. If they can get 135-140 games out of him, I imagine Bobby Cox would be thrilled. Full transcript
Johnny Hazeltine (Las Vegas)
I know Heyward is a great story, but the Braves don't even sniff the playoffs without Chipper in the lineup, do they?
I really like their team, but Jason Heyward is NOT the centerpiece of that team yet. That's Chipper's thing. And they need him to be the Chipper of 2008 again. He and Brian McCann have to hit. And the Troy Glaus move is going to have to work for this team to score enough. It can't all be heaped on a 20-year-old's back. That isn't fair. But the Braves are a dangerous, dangerous team. Full transcript
If Chapman had been in the draft last year, where is he selected?
Baseball America's Jim Callis
Chapman probably third, behind Strasburg and Ackley. Full transcript