Is Aroldis Chapman bound for Hall of Fame after setting new MLB record with Pirates?

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves
Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

On Saturday night against the Atlanta Braves, Pirates veteran reliever Aroldis Chapman became the all-time strikeout leader among left-handed relievers. He passed former All-Star closer Billy Wagner with 1,197 strikeouts in his career.

The record-setting strikeout came during a tied game in the ninth inning. He initially tied the record by striking out Travis d'Arnaud in 2-2 count. Then, Sean Murphy came up to the plate and fouled off four pitches during a 1-2 count before Chapman got him to whiff on a 102.9 mile per hour heater to secure the record-setter.

This strikeout tops off an already impressive 14-year career. Chapman is one of the greatest left-handed relievers of all-time, but has he done enough to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame?

Pirates reliever Aroldis Chapman's Baseball Hall of Fame chances tied to one man

Billy Wagner, the legend Chapman just passed in strikeouts, is on the current ballot, but still has not been chosen for enshrinement into Cooperstown entering his final season of eligibility. Wagner finished his career with a 2.31 earned run average with 422 saves and struck out 1,196 batters. Opponents batted just .187 against him and he had a WHIP of .99. In terms of pure dominance, there have been very few who have surpassed Wagner. It hasn't helped his case.

Wagner was one of the most dominant closers of his time, but still has not been awarded a spot in Cooperstown. As soon as Wagner retired, Chapman came in and took over as the league's premier left-handed closers. Not long into his career, Chapman threw the game's hardest pitch at 106 miles per hour.

In Chapman's career, he has a 2.58 earned run average with 324 saves and has struck out 1,197 batters. Opponents are batting just .189 against him and he has a WHIP of 1.10. Chapman has been known for walking a lot of guys, which has driven his WHIP up, but he's managed to dance around those base runners more often than not.

Wagner tossed about 180 innings more than Chapman, which makes this strikeout record much more impressive. Both relievers have made it to seven All-Star games and have both won one Reliever of the Year award.

Despite Wagner not earning Hall of Fame enshrinement just yet, Chapman's chances certainly increased after picking up this particular strikeout record. He did it in a lot fewer innings, but still is not finished with his career, so the record could continue to grow for a few more years. The walks that Chapman has allowed in his career have inflated some of his stats, which might make it more difficult for him to ultimately be selected. Additionally, Chapman's off-field transgressions could invoke Cooperstown's character clause, to say the least.

If Chapman continues to pitch in MLB for the next few years and continues to rack up strikeouts, he could ultimately be selected. Let's continue to watch what he can do, as well as how Wagner fares in his final year on the writers' ballot.