Taiwan – RHP Po-Yu Chen
Taiwan has only seen 16 players appear in the MLB, but the Pirates have a handful of Taiwanese prospects. They scooped up right-hander Hung-Leng Chang this past international signing deadline to join infielder Tsung-Che Cheng and top Taiwanese prospect Po-Yu Chen.
The Pirates signed Po-Yu Chen with international signing money they acquired in the Jarrod Dyson trade. So far, that trade has looked like a massive win for the Bucs. At the time, he was considered Taiwan’s best prospect. Last year, Chen started the year out with the Pirates’ Florida Complex League affiliate, where he looked like Cy Young 2.0.
In 26 innings, he gave up two earned runs, had 29 K’s, and no home runs surrendered. The most impressive part? He didn’t give up a single walk. However, he struggled mightily once he got to A-Ball. He only pitched 16 innings but gave up 12 walks, ten earned runs, and two home runs. Still, both were small sample sizes.
Chen isn’t a hard thrower but was already hitting 90-93 MPH as a teenager. He’ll never be an Aroldis Chapman, but by the time he’s 22-23-years-old, he might be hitting closer 91-94 MPH and topping out around 95-96 MPH. He also throws a curveball that resides in the low-to-mid-70’s, along with a splitter. While he doesn’t have one elite-level offering, all of his pitches play at an average level and could play up because of his excellent command.
Chen is one of the more interesting pitchers in the Pirate system. He’ll start the year out at Bradenton and could end up being a very solid MLB pitcher. He’s still years away, but he’s one guy to keep an eye on over the next handful of years.