Larry Mahnken at Replacement Level Yankees offers this about Chien-Ming Wang, tonight’s starter:
"I’m still not sold on Wang, though I ain’t complaining. I wouldn’t trade him for someone as good as he’s pitching so far, but if it takes Wang to get a good player, I’d do it. He’ll never be a more valuable commodity than he is now. He’s basically to pitching what Alfonso Soriano is to hitting."
I respect Mahnken’s opinion on matters concerning baseball a lot, and I think he might very well be right about Wang (if, in fact, I’m understanding his point). Wang has been good, but there’s a good chance that he’s not as good as his numbers make him seem. A number of statheads think Alfonso Soriano is baseball’s most overrated player because his gaudy numbers hide the fact that he’s bad at taking a walk, that when he’s going good he’s benefiting a good deal from luck. Likewise, is Wang, who rarely strikes out batters, benefiting from luck? He gets a number of batters to hit balls into play that seem to be finding their way into fielder’s gloves. How much control does he have over the result?
Wang began the year decently and then looked miserable for a couple of weeks. Since early June, however, he’s seemed to have found himself, logging 5 straight starts where he’s gone 7 innings or more. And still, he strikes out no one. Is this just a run of good luck, and when do we know whether Wang is the real deal of not? Tonight he faces Cleveland rookie Jeremy Sowers who did not pitch well in his debut. Here’s to another good start by Chien-Ming, and here’s to the good Wang being the real Wang. Comment here.