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How has Aroldis Chapman become even more unhittable?

Following last years disappointing conclusion to the season, Aroldis Chapman has been lights out for the Yankees, and it’s understated how great he has been. Despite being snubbed as the AL Reliever of the Month, Chapman has appeared to be the best reliever so far this year. After serving a two game suspension to start the season, Chapman has been everything we could ask for and more.

In April, Chappy had a perfect month not allowing one run in 8 innings pitched and striking out 20 of 28 batters faced good for a 69% K% as well as an unbelievable -0.79 FIP. The last time Chapman pitched through April without allowing a run was in 2015 with the Reds. The last time a Yankees closer started the season like this was in 2010 when Mariano began the season without allowing a run until May. He has been putting up Mariano-esque numbers so far this year.

To compare, in March/April of 2010, Mariano only allowed 3 hits in 9 innings pitched and no runs. His WHIP was 0.56 compared to Chapman’s 0.63 WHIP and his K% was 29%. Given previous postseasons, there was concern about Chapman’s future at times, but so far Chapman has been shutting down any doubters.

So what changed?

What is making Chapman even more dominant this year in his 12th MLB season? Well, Chapman has added a splitfinger fastball to his arsenal this offseason. He began showing it in 2020, but this season he has fully developed it and it has been a crutch to his success this season. The benefit of him adding a splitfinger in there is that it doubles down with his fastball already. Both pitches will look similar coming out of his hand, but the splitter will drop out of the strike zone and will continue to leave the batters guessing which pitch they are getting. He has only thrown it 13.2% of the time in April, but combine that with his overpowering fastball, nasty sinker, and disgusting slider and you have an elite level closer the Yankees have not had since Mariano.


There were a ton of questions regarding the bullpen going into the season. Specifically, there were questions regarding Chapman after giving up season-ending home runs in back-to-back seasons, but so far Chapman has been almost unhittable. If Chapman can keep this domination up, the opponent will only have 8 innings to beat the Yankees all season long.