Who is the Newest Twin: The Twins Trade Ervin Santana for Aroldis Chapman

Not quite.  I was watching the Rochester Red Wings at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs last night, while my phone pinked a message saying that "The Twins Traded Santana for LHP Chapman."  Digging a bit more, I found out that the trade involved the lesser versions of Santana and Chapman, Danny, who has been Designated for Assignment last week, and the Braves minor league free agent Kevin Chapman.   Who is the newest Twin, Kevin Chapman?

Chapman is an interesting story: He was drafted 3 times:  Once after a high school senior, in the 42nd round of the 2006, by Detroit and did not sign.  At that point, Champan, who had been an impressive High School prospect with a plus plus slider, had his stock fall as his velocity did through the season and was finally diagnosed with elbow tendonitis.  The elbow tendonitis became a full blown UCL tear in the University of Florida and he had Tommy John surgery as a Sophomore in 2008.   He was drafted as a draft-eligible sophomore in the 50th round of 2009 by the White Sox and did not sign.  His Junior season in College was a break-through season, and the lefty, was a poor man's Aroldis Chapman with an up to 95 mph fastball,  the return of his devastating slider, and the addition of a very workable change up.  Chapman became the closer in Florida, pitching in 31 games, in the tune of 1.65 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, striking out 9.1 per 9 and walking only 1.4 per nine.  He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, the next season, after starting this professional career at High A Wilmington (Carolina League) was anointed a top 20 prospect in that organization, which was full by top prospects then, by Baseball America that described his slider as the best in the Royals' organization.  He was a closer in waiting, like the other Chapman

But the waiting turned out to be prolonged, mainly because upon turning a pro Chapman lost the command of his pitches, allowing hitters to lay off the slider that now has been mostly in the dirt and sitting on a fastball that now was mostly on the middle of the plate.  In his 2 seasons with the Royals, albeit up to AA in his second season, Chapman allowed more than a hit an inning and about 4 walks per nine despite striking out 13 per 9 in his second season.  At that point the Royals traded him to the fast rebuilding Houston Astros for reserve outfielder Jason Bourgeois and backup catcher Humberto Quintero.   He pitched the next (2012) season with the Astros' AA Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas League) where, as a teammate of current Twins' OF Robbie Grossman, he found some command of his stuff.  Chapman pitched 58 innings in 49 games, allowing only 49 hits and 2 HRs, and despite walking 21, he struck out 50, finishing the season with a 2.64 ERA and 1.40 WHIP; he was declared the Astros' 17th best prospect by Baseball America.

In 2013 he started the season in AAA Oklahoma City, where he has been also effective (45 G, 50-2/3 IP, 42 H, 2 HR, 36 BB, 61K, 3.20 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) that despite the high walk rate that now was up to more than 6 per 9 innings, was called up to the Astros in early August where pitching well enough (25 G, 20-1/3 IP, 13 H, 1 HR, 13 BB, 15K, 1.77 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)  to start next season in Houston.  However behind his 1.77 ERA, the was a 4.28 FIP and a 5.05 xFIP and the driver for his 1.28 WHIP was a .211 BABIP, and after 20 games in 2014 his numbers normalized (21 G, 21-1/3 IP, 22 H, 3 HR, 11 BB, 19K, 4.64 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) and returned to AAA by late April.  He was only to be recalled for a total of 12 games the next 2 seasons by the now competing Astros before he left as a free agent signing a minor league contract with the Braves.  This season he pitched in AAA International League Gwinnett and the early returns look pretty atrocious on the surface:  (9 G, 11-2/3 IP, 14 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 10K, 7.71 ERA, 1.46 WHIP).  However behind these numbers there is a career low 2.31 BB/9, a 3.67 FIP and career best 3.28 xFIP and an ugly .371 BABIP.  The now 29-year-old's fastball is not where it used to be, but it is a more controllable 90-92 mph, his slider is still effective in the high 70s and his change up, albeit in the mid low 80s, has been move effective than anticipated.

Chapman will live by the strikeout and ground balls (2.7 ground balls per fly ball, a bit above his career average, this season) and die by the walks and fastballs down the middle.  It is too early to tell which version will play for the Red Wings (and maybe if good enough for the Twins) but this is overall a good trade for the Twins, replacing Danny Santana who fell behind Eduardo Escobar and Ahire Adrianza in the majors (and maybe even Tommy Field in AAA) with Chapman who is a serviceable lefty reliever (who will not require a 40-man spot allowing the Twins to keep one free) and can potentially surprise.   Positively.  Even if his first name is not Aroldis. 

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