Wednesday, August 8, 2007

You Gotta Love Wang (pause)

I'll tell you what: Chien-Ming Wang is a pretty darn good pitcher. This guy just wracks up wins.

From a purely fantasy perspective, the problem with the 27-year-old righty is that he doesn't strike a lot of guys out. Heading into tonight's start against Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays, Wang has only 64 K's in nearly 137 innings pitched. But remember, strikeouts are only one category, so if you have a staff that can accumulate strikeouts elsewhere, Wang is the perfect compliment because he's a lock for 15-20 wins, a good ERA and a low WHIP. In fact, his current numbers (13-5, 3.49 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) would look a lot better if it wasn't for a pair of below-average starts against the Orioles.

Wang throws a very good sinker along with a slider and change-up. But his fastball, which I think is pretty underrated, hits the mid-90s often. He' just a consistent pitcher who commands the strike zone, and doesn't give up walks and homeruns.

Further, he uses that great sinker - and it is GREAT - to produce the all-important double play (He's among the league leaders with 21 GDP this season). Wang's efficiency often allows him to maintain a low pitch count and go deep into games, which makes him even more valuable if you have any kind of innings pitched incentive in your leagues.

So in closing, I advise you to keep a close on Chien-Ming Wang in the coming seasons. He strikes me as one of these guys who will go under the radar because he's not a high-profile power pitcher like a Johan Santana, a Roy Oswalt, or even an Erik Bedard, who has been amazing this season. Wang may not be in that category quite yet, but he will always be surrounded by a good offense in New York and his arm is more apt to stay healthy with that relaxed motion, which always seems to extend a pitcher's shelf-life, a la Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera.

This guy will be a regular in Cy Young races and a fantasy baseball staple for years to come. Hopefully he beats Halladay tonight. That'll make me look good.


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