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A left-hander was dominant in last night's New York Yankees-Baltimore Orioles clash. And his name wasn't CC Sabathia. Wei-Yin Chen hasn't given up more than three runs in any of his seven starts so far, and his seven-inning, two-run, two-walk, four-K Tuesday victory exemplified his utility.
The Taiwan native pounds the strike zone. His drop-and-drive delivery, which fades toward first base, hides the ball well before he releases. In 2011 Chen wasn't as overpowering as he was in his early Japanese Central League years.
A leg injury last year sapped some velo, though, and he got most of his power back; his heat can approach the mid-90s if he gives it some extra kick, and its altered path gives it more life. It helps that his scouting report has been limited up to this point. His 6.55 K/9 and 2.86 BB/9 so far line up with what you can expect over the course of the season; he's pitching like he'll keep a rotation spot for most, if not the rest, of the season.
Will his craftiness sustain his inflated left-on-base percentage (76.3)? He's a fly-ball pitcher - not ideal for a member of Camden Yards' nest. His FIP (3.41) and xFIP (4.41) betray him. He could very well give you Ted Lilly-like numbers with better contributions from his four-seamer; that does just fine in deep mixers and as a cheaper frontline AL-only SP.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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