Is Chen the Most Valuable Oriole?
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Voting began today among the media for the “Most Valuable Oriole.” The leading candidates are Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Darren O’Day, Zach Britton and Wei-Yin Chen. The members of the media who cover the Orioles make three selections when voting. The first place finisher receives five votes, second place receives three votes and third place receives one vote.
Cruz and his 39 home runs carried the team through months where runs were few and far between. Jones’ fourth-straight season of at least 25 home runs brought some consistency to the middle of the order.
O’Day’s submarine pitching style has made him the most formidable setup man in the American League. And Britton’s transformation from middle reliever to shutdown closer has been phenomenal.
However, it is Chen’s year on the mound that I believe makes him the Most Valuable Oriole in 2014. With his win yesterday afternoon, Chen is now 15-4 on the year with a 3.59 ERA. His .789 winning percentage is third-best in the MLB behind Clayton Kershaw (.857) and Chris Sale (.800).
When Chen is on the mound it appears that the Baltimore bats come alive as he has the sixth-highest run support average of 5.04 runs per game.
In addition, Chen has struck out 123 batters in 2014; and his 1.21 WHIP is the highest among any Orioles starting pitcher. When Chen is on the mound, the team has faith that he will give them a quality start. And with 13 quality starts in 28 games started, that faith is more often than not proven true.