Reds closer Aroldis Chapman blew a save against the Phillies last Sunday. He gave up two home runs, half as many as he allowed in 2012, and the Reds lost. Normally I would dive into Fangraphs data to decipher what went wrong in his outing. But little did I know it’s because Ol’ Roldy took a weekend class at the David Wells School of Dieting.
According to CBS Philly, Chapman asked the Phillies’ spanish-language broadcaster Rickie Ricardo (you can’t make this up, Lucy) for 100 Cuban pastries from a local bakery. Now, I have no problem with him ordering the pastries. Maybe he wants to share some of his culture with his teammates or freeze some for later or donate them to a shelter or give some to his family. That’s fine by me. If I signed a guaranteed deal worth $30 million, I can’t say that I wouldn’t spend the majority of it on baked goods.
The problem lies in that Chapman supposedly ate 18 FREAKIN’ PASTRIES BEFORE THE GAME.
I’ve been known to devour a few baked goods in my day, but 18 is far too ambitious for me, and my job performance in no way hinges on my physical condition. Chapman’s job description is basically three fold: don’t get hurt, throw really fast, keep the lead. I’m going to say downing 18 delightfully creamy and undoubtedly lighter than air fatty pastries violates some part of your duties as an athlete.
I called up a number of Cuban bakeries in Miami, hoping that someone could explain to me the toll that 18 pastries would do on a body. Alas, my freshman year spanish was not capable of conveying the questions properly. (Side note: apparently ordering by the hundred is not uncommon. Each bakery I saw offered prices for 100 pastries. I suddenly want Hova to take me on his next Cuban adventure.)
I did manage to track down the nutrition information for frozen pastries, and if Chapman’s pastries were anything like these (and my guess is they were probably less healthy), he could not have been feeling great when he took the mound. Eighteen pastries. That’s roughly 2,600 calories and 144 grams of fat, or roughly the equivalent of the worst dessert in America.
Now, Chapman could have the metabolism of a 13-year-old, but if the story is true, it had to have affected him at least a little bit.
So what was this all a precursor to? Well, in honor of the infamous pastry binge, let’s take a look at eight interesting Reds nuggets, one for each gram of fat in a guava-and-cream-cheese Cuban pastry.
1. If you’re the kind of person that is looking for a team MVP at the quarter pole of the season, it’s Joey Votto for the Reds. He is hitting .353/.477/.526 and is a good glove at first base. If you’d like to hand out a MVRODS (Most Valuable Replacement of Drew Stubbs) award, that one would go to Shin-Soo Choo.
2. That being said, the ability of Votto and Choo to get on base has been remarkable. They currently rank first and third in the majors in OBP. The last time a pair of teammates finished in the top five in OBP? When Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez finished second and fifth in 2005. (Ed’s note: Let’s hope this isn’t foreshadowing of things to come.)
3. It’s no coincidence, then, that Brandon Phillips is tied for the NL lead with 38 RBI. He has had an absurd 110 plate appearances with men on base through 42 games. Compare that to Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who has put up 38 RBI with only 88 PA with men on.
4. To further the Phillips point, let’s take a look historically. In 2002, Jeff Kent hit fourth behind Barry Bonds for a little more than half of the season and hit third the rest of the year. Bonds had an unbelievable .582 OBP that season. So one would think that Kent, more than most, would have plenty of opportunities to hit with at least one guy on base. He finished with 336 PA with men on.
5. Phillips is on pace for 428 PA with men on base. If baseball reference’s play index could sort individual seasons by number of plate appearances with men on base, I would imagine that total would be one of the highest in the past 20 years or so.
6. And Phillips is delivering in those situations. His slash line with men on base? 319/.385/.462. With the bases empty? .239/.247/.455
7. Weirdly enough, Votto is the opposite. His slash line with men on base is .294/.495/.382. With the bases empty, it’s .390/.462/.619.
8. Miami bakeries are not open after 7 pm. Know this next time you decided to read, write, or think about pastelitos de guayaba.