In a baseball career that has been filled with plenty of ups and downs, the 2016 season has been a standout campaign so far for 28-year-old right-handed reliever Jaye Chapman as the former Chicago Cub looks to find his way back into another big league bullpen.
Through ten games, Chapman has yet to allow a run, surrendering just two base hits while striking out 14 and converting all nine of his save opportunities.
A bulldog with a good mound presence, Chapman isn’t afraid to challenge hitters, despite a fastball that only sits in the low 90’s. He supplements that with a biting slider for a 1-2 punch that has proven lethal to Southern League hitters so far this season.
Originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 16th round of the 2005 draft, Chapman signed as a draft-and-follow player in May of 2016. He worked his way up through Atlanta’s system, reaching Triple-A Gwinnett before being traded to the Chicago Cubs as part of a four-player trade deadline deal in 2012.
After seeing time at both Tennessee (AA) and Iowa (AAA) following the trade, Chapman finally got the call he had been waiting for, joining the Cubs as a September call-up and making his major league debut with a scoreless inning of relief against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.. He went on to make 14 September appearances for Chicago, going 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA while striking out 12 in 12 innings of work.
Unfortunately for Chapman, injury would cost him most of the 2013 season. After just four relief outings for Triple-A Iowa, Chapman was forced to undergo hip surgery on not just one but both of his hips. Following the surgeries, he returned to the diamond in 2014, pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League and going 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA.
Healthy once again, the Brewers signed Chapman prior to the start of the 2015 season and he wound up splitting the year between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Colorado Springs, going 6-5 with a 2.37 and converting 17 saves between the two levels.
With a glut of late inning arms at the Triple-A level, Chapman returned to Biloxi to open the 2016 season as the Shuckers closer, a role he has excelled in. If he keeps throwing the way he has been through the first month of the season, another promotion could soon be in order for the Florida native and before long he very well may find his way back to the big leagues as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen.