Comparing Aroldis Chapman to some of the greatest relievers of all time

Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman became the fastest pitcher to reach 500 strikeouts, reaching the achievement in just 292.0 innings pitched. The previous mark was held by San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel, who got to 500 in 305 IP. 

Chapman is also one of the fastest-throwing pitchers in baseball, with his average fastball velocity a full 1.5 mph faster than any other pitcher.

Top relievers in 2015 in average fastball velocity

  Fastball Velocity (mph)
Aroldis Chapman, Reds 99.7
Arquimedes Caminero, Pirates 98.2
Kelvin Herrera, Royals 98.0
Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals 97.5
Craig Kimbrel, Padres 97.5

Chapman’s average fastball velocity over his career is also the fastest all-time — 0.1 mph faster than former Tigers’ closer Joel Zumaya. 

All-Time top relievers in average fastball velocity

  Fastball Velocity (MPG)
Aroldis Chapman, Reds 98.6
Joel Zumaya, Tigers 98.5
Kelvin Herrera, Royals 98.2
Henry Rodriguez, Athletics/Nationals 98.0
Nate Jones, White Sox 97.6

As a reliever, Chapman has put himself in elite company being the fastest to 500 strikeouts, and if he keep up his current pace he could place himself among the best relievers of all time. Here’s how Chapman stacks up against the best:

Comparing Chapman to the best relievers in baseball

  IP ERA K/9
Aroldis Chapman, Reds 292.0 2.22 15.41
Mariano Rivera, Yankees 1233.2 2.06 8.28
Trevor Hoffman, Padres/Brewers 1089.1 2.87 9.36
Goose Gossage, Yankees/Padres 1578.0 2.86 7.85
Rollie Fingers, Athletics/Padres 1553.1 2.84 7.07
Lee Smith, Cubs/Cardinals 1252.1 2.98 8.80

And here’s how some of the best relievers compare to Chapman through the same approximate number of innings pitched:

Comparing Chapman to some of the best relievers in baseball through 292.0 IP

  IP ERA K/9
Aroldis Chapman, Reds 292.0 2.22 15.41
Mariano Rivera, Yankees 291.2 2.72 8.45
Trevor Hoffman, Padres 291.2 3.18 9.72
Billy Wagner, Astros/Phillies 291.2 2.78 13.42
Robb Nen, Marlins/Giants 291.1 3.63 9.14

Finally, let’s compare Chapman and the above relievers in terms of saves through about 292.0 IP (Rivera began his career as a starting pitcher before moving to the bullpen):

Comparing Chapman to some of the best relievers in baseball

  IP Saves
Aroldis Chapman, Reds 292.0 131
Mariano Rivera, Yankees 291.2 80
Trevor Hoffman, Padres 292.2 99
Billy Wagner, Astros/Phillies 292.2 112
Robb Nen, Marlins/Giants 292.1 90