MLB Scouts Watch Chen

» 09 September 2009 » In mlb prospects, npb »

Sports Hochi is reporting that a number of MLB scouts were on hand to take in Chunichi Dragons ace Wei-Yin Chen’s latest win, a two-hit shutout over Hanshin at Koshien. Among them was Steve Wilson, the Cubs’ Director of Asia Pacific scouting, who commented “of course we know Chen, but I can’t talk about specific players.” A scout from an unnamed AL East team said that if he were available, “about 15 teams would move on him.” Chen is in the midst of a dominating season (8-3, 1.45 era, 142.1 ip). I have every intention of doing a full profile of him, I can say that he features a fastball that reaches the mid-90’s and a sharp slider.

The new bit of information in this article is that Chen is on a single year contract, and thus eligible to change teams after the season. Chen, 24, signed out of Taiwan in 2004 after small bidding war between Chunichi, Daiei (now SoftBank) and MLB clubs. Since he’s a member of the NPB players’ union (most foreign players are not), I always thought he was under a standard NPB entry contract. If that’s not the case that he’ll certainly attract attention this season.


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  1. Patrick
    09/09/2009 at 1:12 am Permalink

    This is a very interesting case of a foreign player being brought up in the NPB system. Didn’t know about being part of the players’ association and how that affects contracts.

  2. Patrick
    John Brooks
    09/09/2009 at 9:12 am Permalink

    Since he’s a member of the NPB players’ union (most foreign players are not), I always thought he was under a standard NPB entry contract. If that’s not the case that he’ll certainly attract attention this season.

    If true, yeah I though he be subject to the posting system right? Though I was reading this link:

    Live in Japan for five or more years, attending junior high, senior high, a two-year college, and/or vocational school for three years.
    Live in Japan for four or more years, continuously attending a Japanese university for four or more years.
    Live in Japan for five or more years, playing on a team in the Japanese Amateur Baseball Association (industrial leagues) for 3 or more years.

    Though I know, NPB was talking about instituting a rule where they would allow 1 player from South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Though nothing came of that I think. Now it shows here that he signed as a foreign free agent. I know that players that foriegners that qualify for free agency should be able to apply to be a member of the player’s association(Tuffy Rhodes ?) since they dont count against the foreign player limit.

  3. Patrick
    09/09/2009 at 4:04 pm Permalink

    1.45 ERA, 1.96 BB/9, 7.71 K/9, 0.90 WHIP… amazing young talent getting paid only 35,000,000 yen for a single year contract… if a MLB club can sign him as FA, it is better investment for the team than paying millions of dollars for posting fee or signing with 30 plus years old FA Japanese pitchers

  4. Patrick
    09/09/2009 at 8:09 pm Permalink

    Some bullet points:

    – There was a rumor that he turned down an offer from the Giants last year.

    – Chen’s patron, Taihoh, is quoted as saying that he wants Chen to stay in Japan for a few more years.

    – The Dragons has had three Chens (陳) in its history, none of whom had their family name in the Chinese character as a registered name in the NPB. This is said to be because the Dragons advised them not to use it, since the Japanese reading of it sounds like a slang word for the male genitalia a la Wang, a Yankee.

  5. Patrick
    09/09/2009 at 9:39 pm Permalink

    He also has had some injury in the past and spent some time as an ikusei player before making it back to the normal roster.

  6. Patrick
    ting-tzong hou
    10/09/2009 at 7:55 am Permalink

    chen has been very sharp this year. he will make more money with the amazing era if he joins mlb. but the question is he had been treated well by the chunich dragons during the recovering time. if not for the dollars, i think he will stay with chunichi dragons next year. but i also concern about his arm as he has already had 4 shutout games this year. the japanese baseball teams seem never care about pitchers’ arm problem just like what they did to dice-k when he was in npb.

  7. Patrick
    10/09/2009 at 8:25 am Permalink

    what they did to dice-k when he was in npb.

    What specific incident are you referring to?

  8. Patrick
    10/09/2009 at 8:30 am Permalink

    but NPB starters only pitch once a week. (though they probably throw more between games.)

  9. Patrick
    ting-tzong hou
    10/09/2009 at 10:31 pm Permalink

    here is dice-k ‘s state in npb:
    19 1999 16 5 25 24 6 2 180 87 151
    20 2000 14 7 27 24 6 2 167.2 95 144
    21 2001 15 15 33 32 12 2 240.1 117 214
    22 2002 6 2 14 11 2 0 73.1 15 78
    23 2003 16 7 29 27 8 2 194 63 215
    24 2004 10 6 23 19 10 5 146 42 127
    25 2005 14 13 28 28 15 3 215 49 226
    26 2006 17 5 25 25 13 2 186.1 34 200

    compare to joba, dice-k had pitched 1000ip in npb when he was 24ys old, joba is 24 this year, and he has only pitched 264ip as a yankee. look at the number of CG, it’s really hard for a young arm. traditional japanese pitchers they like to challenge CG or SHO. these guys they are now the coaches or managers, that is why chen and dice-k has so many CGs.

  10. Patrick
    10/09/2009 at 10:53 pm Permalink

    Yeah, but you have to factor in the college and minor league innings Joba has thrown too. I’ll concede that those aren’t likely to be as stressful innings as MLB, but they still count. But it’s still apples & oranges.

    Also, I believe that Daisuke’s heavy workload in 2001 played a role in Osamu Higashio’s departure as manager.