Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining Po-Yu Chen’s Recent Success

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Despite a poor start on Sunday afternoon, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Po-Yu Chen has been pitching very effectively of late. Let’s examining his recent success.

Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Po-Yu Chen has been red hot since the start of summer. For the third time this year and the third time since June, Chen took home pitcher of the week for the West Division at the Florida State League, Bradenton’s league. So how has Chen done since taking off in June?

Chen has started nine games and thrown 45.2 innings since the outset of June. In that time, he has a 3.15 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and 1.12 WHIP. Chen started the year off on the wrong foot with a 5.94 ERA through April-May, but he was struggling with some bad luck, indicated by his 3.32 FIP, which is very close to his recent performance.

Regardless of his April-May numbers, Chen has a 24.5% strikeout rate and 8% walk rate throughout his last nine outings. That walk rate might not seem fantastic, but the league average walk rate is 10.2%. Chen has also only allowed home runs at a 0.39 HR/9. Chen has put up a 44.6% ground ball rate all season, which is above average. Opponents are hitting just above the Mendoza line vs. the Taiwanese righty, having a .212 average.

Chen currently averages out around 91-93 MPH. But at 20 years old and at Low-A there’s definitely time for him to add another tick or two of velocity. He throws a nasty curveball with late bite to it. He used his curve to get most of his K’s in his seven-inning, one-hit performance last Sunday. Even though his curveball has plenty of potential, many see his splitter being his best offering. Chen has plus-plus command as well.

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It should be fun watching Chen the rest of the summer. It looks like he found his groove and will look to continue to dominate batters at Bradenton. The right-hander is steadily making progress and is on pace to make an impact in 2024. Who knows; maybe if he makes some big strides in 2023, which isn’t out of the question, we could see him at least be knocking on the doorstep of the majors.