Presumably the Yankees are still considering a bid on Yu Darvish should the Nippon Ham Fighters post him (as expected), but in this post I’m going to look at a guy in the Japanese League who is a bit more under the radar, and won’t require a large posting fee. Wei-Ying Chen is a 26 year-old, 6’0″ 176 pound left-handed pitcher for the Chiunchi Dragons. Chen is actually Taiwanese, but signed as an amateur free agent in Japan out of high school. Unlike Darvish, Chen will be a free agent this offseason, allowing him to sign with a big league team without going through the posting process. This gives him the ability to pick the team he wants, and also allows teams to bid for his services without paying a posting fee. Chen has apparently been interested in going to America for several years, but the team has not posted him.
A lot of the information about Chen, and the Yankees’ interest in him, came courtesy of David P of Yankee Source (@yankeesource on Twitter), who was kind enough to share his thoughts on Chen with me via Twitter (and if you remember, wrote this great guest post on Darvish for us recently). Per David, Chen can bring the heat, throwing a fastball in the low-90′s (topping out at 95), and complementing it with a slider (his best secondary offering), a curve, and a forkball. His velocity was down a little this year due to a leg injury (topping out around 91), but it did not seem to affect him, as his level of performance was similar to previous seasons.
In Chen’s career with the Dragons, he has gone 36-30 with a 2.59 ERA, 7.2 k/9, and 2.2 bb/9. His best season was in 2009, when he led the league in ERA with a gaudy 1.54 (league average was 3.55) By those stats he has been able to miss bats, but is not a major strikeout pitcher (though his control is very good). Unlike some other pitchers in the Japanese League (such as Darvish), Chen has not had incredibly high workloads, with his highest inning total 188 in 2010.
You can see video of Chen pitching here (courtesy of Patrick of Fangraphs), which is a 2-hour clip from a Dragons-Yomiuri Giants game. I am no expert on mechanics, but from the few minutes I watched Chen’s delivery it looks pretty clean and smooth, and he doesn’t seem to rely too much on deception. He uses a three-quarters arm angle, which could help make him tough on lefties. Chen is somewhat of a flyball pitcher, however, which may not work so well in Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees reportedly have interest in Chen as a reliever (I imagine his fastball would play up nicely in the ‘pen), though thus far it is unclear whether Chen views himself as a starter in the bigs (and more importantly, whether any other big league teams view him as one). I have no idea of Chen’s contract demands, but I assume he would be a fairly affordable signing. I wouldn’t support guaranteeing Chen a rotation spot (since we saw how well that worked with Kei Igawa), but if the Yankees think he can start, I would be happy to have him compete for the 5th starter spot (provided he is willing to go to AAA or the bullpen if he doesn’t win the job).
Chen is no Darvish as far as talent goes, but the fact that the Yankees are looking at him has piqued my interest. They may just be doing their homework on him as they would with a typical international free agent, or there may be a deeper interest there. It’s unclear whether that interest is mutual, though the Yankees remain popular in Japan, which could help them bring in Chen. The contract Chen ends up with will likely depend on whether he is viewed as a starter or reliever. Either way, the Yankees can afford him, but as always, the question will be whether he is worth the money. The velocity drop is a bit of a red flag (though I would imagine that even when healthy he was never hitting 95 consistently), but I’m sure the Yankees take all of this into account.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees