Wei-Yin Chen set to return to Marlins pitching rotation
The return of Wei-Yin Chen cannot come fast enough. Luckily for the Miami Marlins Chen is set to return after missing the start of the season while recovering from last season’s partial UCL tear.
The Marlins pitching staff has struggled as a group in 2018 and any addition can only help a group that desperately needs it. Despite a recent string of above average starts, Miami could certainly start to take advantage of one of their highest paid players.
Outside of Jarlin Garcia all of the Marlins starters have an ERA above 4.90. Simply put this is not good. Chen has a career ERA of 3.90, an entire run lower than what some of the Marlins starters are currently allowing. Even if Chen comes back and ends up with an ERA between his career number and what the other starters are allowing it is a win.
The aforementioned partial UCL tear suffered last season limited Chen to only 33 innings last season. Chen only appeared in nine games, five of which were starts before the injury. During those five starts Chen had an ERA of 4.33. After some bullpen appearances later in the season his ERA dropped to 3.82.
As a starter last season Chen average four strikeouts per start. This is due to Chen not being a strikeout pitcher. Chen’s strength is getting outs via the fly ball. During this same timeframe Chen average 9.6 fly ball outs. Chen also averaged 6.8 ground ball outs per start as well.
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The issue with Chen is keeping the ball in the yard. Due to his pitching style Chen is susceptible to the long ball. In fact as a starter last season Chen gave up three home runs in five games. If Chen were to start 25 games at this ratio he would give up 15 home runs. While this ratio is better than previous years (Chen’s career low for home runs surrendered is 17 in 2013), this new era of launch angle and questionable ball construction could lead to Chen giving up even more home runs. Chen has only allowed less than 20 home runs over the course of a full season one time. In fact Chen averages 23.8 home runs surrendered when pitching a full season. This is a high number and allowing this many home runs makes it difficult to win games.
As long as Chen can keep the ball in the ballpark he will provide a huge boost to the Marlins rotation. If not a trip back to the bullpen may be in order. Even as a bullpen arm Chen would help the Marlins as this unit has also struggled. Any and all contributions from Chen are a positive and could potentially help the Marlins win games. Winning games is what is all about after all.
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