Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Yet another prominent free agent piece fell by the wayside on Tuesday as the Miami Marlins or all teams agreed to terms with starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen on a five-year deal worth $80 million.  The lefty Chen now moves from the roughest division in baseball in the AL East to the much easier league in the NL.  At the same time, Chen also gets to take up residence in one of the best pitching parks in the majors in Miami whose spacious dimensions keep baseballs in the stadium.  As always, let's take a closer look at Chen and find out where his fantasy baseball stock goes from here.

As we already noted, Chen is looking at least a half-a-run improvement in his ERA in moving from the AL to the NL alone and that is even more of a positive when you consider his new gigantic ballpark.  The 30-year-old veteran comes off a quietly very good 2015 campaign with the Orioles where he pitched to a career-best 3.34 ERA and also posted a career-high in K/9 at 7.20.  As an added bonus, Chen's WHIP was also a career-low 1.22 as he set himself to cash in during free agency. 

When digging in a bit more on Chen, a few things stand out.  The first is that he keeps getting better since arriving in the States in 2012.  Chen's ERA has gone from 4.02, to 4.07, to 3.54, to last season's 3.34.  Now with the move to the NL and the Miami ballpark, Chen could go even lower to the 3.15 range is all breaks right based on the trajectory.  In addition, Chen has solid control as evidenced by his 1.93 BB/9 last season and with the K rate now jumping up over 7.00, a tidy WHIP around 1.20 is also possible.  Finally, Chen's strikeout totals are solid but also nothing spectacular as he is mostly a 150-170 guy, with him moving to the latter number this season based on the move to the NL and getting to face weaker lineups.  When you combine the three together, Chen is looking primed for an even better 2016 campaign than his underrated 2015. 

As you peruse your pitching staff in the late middle rounds of your draft, Wei-Yin Chen looks like a terrific buy as your SP 5 to round our your rotation.  The guy can surely be a nice help across the board and overall he has the chance to be even better this season due to his move to the easier league after ending up with the Marlins in free agency during the winter. 

2016 PROJECTION:  14-10 3.29 ERA 1.20 WHIP 163 K 


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