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The consistency of Wei-Yin Chen

Baseball is a game of randomness and luck; one where a screaming line drive fails to result in anything but a trip back to the dugout, and a perfectly executed pitch in on the hands of the batter falls for extra bases. It is nearly impossible to duplicate the same numbers year-in, year-out, and even the best of the best and the worst of the worst experience variances in their production. The keyword here is “nearly;” however, and some do manage to mirror their stats from year-to-year, but even those guys aren’t immune to statistical nuances.

Wei-Yin Chen is in rare company, as he is one of the few who you “know” what you’re going to get from. Well, at least that’s been the case the past three seasons. And while Chen has taken a different route to get to the value he’s achieved the past three years, he’s been essentially of equal value in each. Let’s take a quick look at his statistics over the first and only three seasons of his young career.

2012 (192 and 2/3 innings pitched): 7.19 K/9, 2.66 BB/9, 1.35 HR/9, 37.1 GB%, .274 BABIP, 4.02 ERA, 4.42 FIP, and 2.1 fWAR

2013 (137 innings pitched): 6.83 K/9, 2.56 BB/9, 1.12 HR/9, 34.4 GB%, .305 BABIP, 4.07 ERA, 4.04 FIP, and 2.0 fWAR

2014 (173 and 2/3 innings pitched): 6.69 K/9, 1.66 BB/9, 1.19 HR/9, 40.1 GB%, .297 BABIP, 3.58 ERA, 3.96 FIP, and 2.3 fWAR

This year is shaping up to be his best yet, but oddly it’s been the year he’s been the least talked about. Anyway, odd periods of admiration aside, you can see from his stats above that he’s been a consistent low two-win player every single season of his career. Now, the regular season hasn’t concluded, so there’s a very good chance his fWAR changes in his final two to three outings of the year. ZIPS and Steamer projection system, however, forecast Chen will end the year with a 2.4 fWAR, and that’s not a substantial difference at all.

His strikeout rate has fallen every year, to a career-worst at 6.69 K/9 in ’14, though, that’s been offset with better command and inducing a higher percentage of ground balls this season. Subsequently, his ERA and FIP are under four for the first time in his career during a year in which his team, the Baltimore Orioles, are marching their way to the playoffs in dominating fashion.

Chen has been one of the most consistent pitchers in all of baseball over the course of the last three seasons. While he’s never been consistently dominate, he’s been consistently above-average. And considering how volatile the game of baseball tends to be, Chen’s a breath of fresh air for the O’s.

via The consistency of Wei-Yin Chen.


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