The Pittsburgh Pirates used a big chunk of their International funds by investing $1.25 million to sign promising right-handed pitching prospect Po-Yu Chen out of Taiwan. This was back in fall of 2020 and was one of Ben Cherington's first significant International signings. The sizable investment demonstrated the Pirates' strong belief in Chen's potential, viewing the young hurler as comparable to a second-round talent in the domestic MLB Draft.
Chen embarked on his journey in the Pirates farm system in 2021, debuting stateside in full-season A-ball. He spent the entirety of the following season honing his craft with Single-A Bradenton before making a pivotal promotion up to High-A Greensboro this past year. The move proved beneficial, as Chen overcame some early struggles in April to find his groove as a starter for much of the 2023 campaign at the new level.
Now standing at 6-foot-2, Chen has emerged as an intriguing arm in the Pirates pipeline. He boasts an intriguing four-pitch mix that profiles well for a future rotation spot. While his fastball generally sits in the low-90s, it has shown the capability to touch 95 mph, suggesting there could be more velocity coming as he matures. Additionally, Chen spins two above-average breaking pitches in his curveball and slider. The changeup may end up being his most formidable secondary offering, giving him a complete four-pitch starter's arsenal. The Pirates believe Chen has the potential to grow into a cornerstone piece in their rotation down the road.