R.J. Anderson is back with Baseball Prospectus after the holiday weekend, and he finally got around to weighing in on the Bruce Chen re-signing by the Kansas City Royals. Ultimately he says it’s a good deal for both sides for a pitcher that’s “league average” and yet clearly giving the Royals something they need.
An interesting note Anderson brings up is how Chen has finally gotten over his penchant for giving up home runs.
“With 48 starts over the last two seasons and a 105 adjusted-earned run average, Chen looks like a solid, if unspectacular, rotation option,” writes Anderson. "Making Chen’s ERA more notable is how it came in front of poor defenses that finished 30th and 24th, respectively, in park-adjusted defensive efficiency.
“The key to Chen’s success is a newfound ability to limit home runs. During Chen’s first 259 major-league games, he allowed 1.7 home runs for every nine innings pitched. Over his last 58 games, his home run rate has dipped to 1.1 homers yielded per nine innings pitched.”
Last season, Chen went 12-8 with a 3.77 ERA in 155 innings pitched.