Player to Avoid: Bruce Chen

There were many surprising performances in 2010, but were any more shocking then Bruce Chen’s?  He’s been around the majors since 1998 and has very rarely proven to be close to a usable option for fantasy owners.  Last season was a different story, however, as he posted the following line:

12 Wins
140.1 Innings
4.17 ERA
1.38 WHIP
98 Strikeouts (6.3 K/9)
57 Walks (3.7 BB/9)
.256 BABIP

A free agent heading into 2010 it’s possible that he returns to Kansas City, but no matter where he lands the chances are that he is going to not come close to being usable in 2011.  Knowing nothing else about him, his long history of mediocrity (even that may be too nice of a term), tells us that.

When you look at the peripherals, it’s impossible.

The BABIP shows that his 1.38 WHIP was actually a lucky number.  He has a career WHIP of 1.40, but let’s look at the numbers that his 1.59 in 2009 (over 62.1 innings) was based on:

  • 6.5 K/9
  • 3.6 BB/9
  • .296 BABIP

The only difference between 2009 and 2010 is the BABIP, and his ’09 number is far more believable.  He was a sub par WHIP option in 2010, and the numbers support him being even worse in 2011.  For fantasy owners that’s a scary thought.

He also just doesn’t strikeout enough batters to offset any negatives.  He has been at a 6.5 K/9 or worse every season since 2004.  I know looking at his career mark you may think that there’s hope for improvement (7.0), but he was a much better strikeout pitcher earlier in his career.  At this point, he’s just not.

Worse luck means more baserunners.  More baserunners will inevitably lead to more runs scored against him.  In all honesty, it is far more likely that his ERA is over 5.00 then it is under 4.00.

You also have to wonder exactly how many innings you are going to get from him or if he will find a spot as a full-time starter.  If he doesn’t, then it’s clear he’s a non-factor.  Even if he doesn’t you shouldn’t care.

Clearly, you can tell that I want nothing to do with Chen in 2011 and neither should you.

What are your thoughts on Chen?  Is there any way you decide to use him in 2011?  Why or why not?

Make sure to check out our 2011 projections:

One comment

  1. johnny storm says:

    Slow news day? I was shocked that Chen would even be given any sort of spotlight on your awesome site. He’s a 33 year old who between now and 1998 only had two relevant years. I should hope none of your readers are considering him a sleeper or even a late round flyer!

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