If you were to read through past coverage of the Baltimore Orioles on this blog, you could be forgiven for imagining a prerequisite among our contributors for possessing a hatred for the orange birds of Maryland. That’s certainly not the case. At this point, out collective feelings for the Orioles have far more in common with pity than hatred.
And genuine hatred would likely preclude us from giving the team credit when credit is due. And credit is due to Baltimore’s front office after the team signed left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen to a three year deal worth close to $12 million, with a club option for 2015.
ESPN’s Keith Law, writing in his annual free agent ranking column, placed the Taiwanese pitcher, who played last season for the Chunichi Dragons in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, between Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt among available starters this off season.
He is only 25 and offers more upside than the typical NPB refugee, both due to age and the chance for the slider to become a consistently plus pitch.
In four full seasons in the NPB, Chen has relied on his command of a mid-nineties fastball and a curvey slider to accumulate a 3.27 K:BB ratio and a 19.6% strikeout rate compared to a 6.0% walk rate.Numbers like this normally signify good control, and the scouting reports confirm this.
Chen could potentially join another former NPB pitcher in the Orioles rotation with Tsuyoshi Wada, who was acquired in December, projected to be the fourth or fifth starter.