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Orioles’ investment in Wei-Yin Chen is paying off early

May 16, 2012, 1:20 PM EDT

Wei-Yin Chen AP

In an effort to boost a rotation that had MLB’s worst ERA last season the Orioles brought in a pair of starters who’d thrived in Japan, signing Wei-Yin Chen for $11.3 million and Tsuyoshi Wada for $8.15 million.

Wada experienced elbow problems early in spring training and will miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery, but Chen is looking like an excellent investment so far.

Last night he tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Yankees, out-dueling CC Sabathia and improving to 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts. His secondary numbers aren’t quite as impressive with a modest 32/14 K/BB ratio in 44 innings, but Chen has allowed just three homers and has proven very capable of success against strong lineups.

Of those seven starts two have come against the Yankees and he’s faced the Rangers and Red Sox once apiece. Those are the three highest-scoring teams in the American League and the 26-year-old left-hander has a 2.84 ERA against them despite averaging just 90.1 miles per hour with his fastball.

  1. mybrunoblog - May 16, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    While Chen has looked very impressive Wada broke down like so many of the Japanese pitchers seem to do.
    Let’s see how Chen pitches when he faces these teams a second and third time before we engrave his name on the Cy Young plaque.
    Be even more interesting to see Chen in high pressure September games after pitching many more innings here than he ever did in Japan.

    • dowhatifeellike - May 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      Last night was his second starts against the Yankees.

    • psuravens19 - May 16, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Nobody said anything about a Cy Young… it was just stated that he has been impressive against the Yanks twice, Rangers, and Red Sox.

    • jwbiii - May 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      “pitching many more innings here than he ever did in Japan”

      Huhn? He’s pitched between 160 and 190 innings in each of the last three seasons. This would have had him second on the Orioles last season. This is just too easy to fact check. You’re trying to drive people away from your blog, right?

  2. bmorelikeme - May 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Agreed it’s early, and I’m very interested to see how he fairs as the season goes on and teams get another look at him.

    So far however, he’s shown the ability to mix his pitches effectively and keep hitters off balance. He seems to have a certain amount of deception in his delievery. He could very well settle into a mid-rotation starter that gives the O’s a chance to win everytime out.

  3. pisano - May 16, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Right now the Yankees can’t hit to save their lives, so I would wait awhile to make a big winner out of this guy.

    • Loose Changeup - May 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Really? The Yankees are 2nd in the AL in HR, OPS, and SLG. They’re 3rd in hits, runs, walks and total bases.

      • randomdigits - May 16, 2012 at 6:04 PM

        I guess no one can hit.

      • pisano - May 16, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        Let me know where they stand with runners left in scoring position, that’s a stat that is hurting them. They can’t seem to get timely hits.

      • jwbiii - May 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

        Average is low (10th), SLP is high (4th).

  4. ravenscaps48 - May 17, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ to F— With!

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