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Could Chen graduate from "good pitcher" to "ace?"


Frobby

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I'm not basing this question just based on tonight. Before his injury, Chen was pitching lights-out. He had a 2.45 ERA in the five starts just before the injury. He was really getting pitch-efficient, too. In his last two starts before he got hurt, the threw 78 pitches in 6.1 innings (start was cut short by a rain delay) and 73 pitches in 5 innings (start was cut short when he strained his oblique). I really felt he was reaching a new level just at the time he got hurt. Based on today, he seems ready to pick up right where he left off.

I know there have been some who have questioned Chen's stamina, but he worked out with Brady last winter and I think it paid dividends. It's a shame the oblique cost him 10-11 starts, but I think we may see and ace-level performance from Chen in the second half.

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I thought after last season he really was no better than a 3 or 4, but I think the OP is right. In the beginning of this year he seems to have stepped it up a notch and now I'm hoping we can get a similar boost from him that we got from Tillman last year.

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Certainly looks like he's moving to a No 2. starter level. So are Gonzalez and Tillman. Now if they can consistently go 7....
Exactly. Chen's strong return has given me a big shot of optimism. A lot of us have said we have four number three starters and things like that. Well, Chen was pitching like a top one or two starter before he went down with the oblique injury and he came back now looking as good as before. Add to that Miguel pitching to a 2.88 ERA in June over 5 starts (and a 3.25 ERA in 15 starts last season) and that's two top of rotation guys. Tillman in my view is a ways behind them but still a strong starter. Hammel/Britton/Feldman picking up the back of the rotation, and Wada waiting in the wings to come up in some capacity, and pitching could be a strength for us.
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I didn't see him tonight, but before he was injured, the biggest difference I saw with him was that he was using his change-up more effectively than last year. If you can get hitters off balance AND command your fastball to both sides of the plate like he did last season, you're gonna have success.

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Not sure if he will become an ace, but I'd settle for a 2. He tired a bit at the end of last season though I though in various starts he looked very effective and seemed to be picking up a little velocity (up to 92 or so IIRC).

He has the stuff and velo to be a very effective major league pitcher.

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Not sure if he will become an ace, but I'd settle for a 2. He tired a bit at the end of last season though I though in various starts he looked very effective and seemed to be picking up a little velocity (up to 92 or so IIRC).

He has the stuff and velo to be a very effective major league pitcher.

He was consistently at 93 tonight.

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If he can limit the home runs allowed, then yes. Two great examples so far this season of pitchers taking the next step (largely due to greatly decreasing the amount of HRs allowed) are Travis Wood and Derek Holland. So far Chen has been much better than last year in that department. His WHIP was very good last year, but his ERA was so high because of the HRs allowed.

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He was consistently at 93 tonight.
Norfolk coaches who monitored Chen closely on his rehab said they had never seen him throw so well. They said he had an uptick in velocity,

tremendous command and great stamina. They were excited about his return.

I'd like to see him with better command, but it's never been a problem before.

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