Pitcher – Po-Yu Chen
The Pirates signed Po-Yu Chen out of Taiwan during 2020. They were able to sign him with international slot money they acquired in the Jarrod Dyson trade. Since being signed, he’s become one of the team’s top pitching prospects.
To say that Chen got off to a good start to his pro career would be the biggest understatement of all time. He pitched 26 innings at the Florida Coast League, allowed just 2 earned runs, struck out 29 batters, and to top it all off, didn’t allow a single free pass or home run. But the next 16 innings Chen would pitch wouldn’t be as pretty. These all came at A-Ball Bradenton, where he surrendered ten earned runs with 12 walks and only 15 K’s.
Still, that 26 inning walk-less streak really raised his prospect stock. FanGraphs now sees him as one of the team’s top 25. Chen’s repertoire consists of a four-seam fastball, curveball, and splitter. He isn’t a flamethrower as he only hits the low-90’s and tops out at 94 MPH. Though at only 20-years-old, he might end up closer to the 92-94 MPH range by the time he’s 23-24-years-old. The splitter is his best offering, a pitch that has late breaking action and gets his fair share of swings and misses on. His curveball is another solid offering that he can rely on long term.
FanGraphs describes Chen as a low-variance arm and has the floor of a back of the rotation arm. With plus command, I could see him earn higher remarks over the course of the next year. If Chen adds a tick or two of velocity, that fastball, with his command, could be a truly deadly weapon. A well-located 93 MPH fastball will get out its fair share of batters with his fast arm speed. I could see Chen reaching the ceiling of a no. 3 tier starter in the future.