Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Two Pitchers to Keep Tabs on As the Season Winds Down

Here are two Pirate pitching prospects that you should focus on as we head into the home stretch

Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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Po-Yu Chen

The Pirates acquired Po-Yu Chen in the 2020-2021 offseason as part of their international signing class. Chen, one of the top high school arms out of Taiwan, was signed as an indirect cause of the Jarrod Dyson trade (the Pirates received international bonus pool money to spend for the veteran outfielder). Chen has definitely shown he could become a solid starting pitcher in the near future.

Chen owns a 4.00 ERA, 5.24 FIP, and 1.29 WHIP. Now Chen’s FIP is worryingly high, but that’s mainly because his HR/9 is 1.55. Chen has a pretty solid 23.8% strikeout rate as well as an 8.4% walk rate. Chen has a 21.4% HR/FB ratio, which is over 10% higher than in 2022. There’s some bad flyball luck playing its hand here because Greensboro is a home run friendly park. Once adjusting for this insanely high HR/FB ratio, Chen has a 4.14 xFIP.

The right-hander could get moved to Altoona soon. Chen owns a much better looking 3.05 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP over his past 79.2 innings. He is striking out about a quarter of the batters he has faced (25.1%), while having a quality 8.2% walk rate. Home runs are still giving Chen some trouble, based on his 1.36 HR/9, but again, a home run friendly environment could be playing a role with that rate.

Chen has a four pitch arsenal. His four-seamer only hits about 91-94 MPH on the radar, and his two breaking pitches include a slider and curveball. Nothing here stands out, and these first three offerings sit at a below average to average level. But he does have one plus offering, that being his splitter. Chen also has good command, which helps his below average stuff have some oomph to it.