SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Bruce Chen Comes Up Big -- the Next Jamie Moyer?

He was a wunderkind of sorts when he came out of Georgia Tech, a lefty with all sorts of stuff who made the majors early but has become (a much less successful) latter day version of onetime lefty starter Dave LaPoint, who pitched for so many teams that he once remarked that his goal -- while still on a Major League roster -- was to have been teammates with everyone then on a Major League roster. After LaPoint made that remark, the writers checked, and, lo and behold, at the end of his career, when he was only 32, he had been teammates with an astounding 25% of the guys then on Major League rosters (LaPoint pitched for 9 different teams in 12 seasons and had two tours with the Cardinals and White Sox). A latter day version of Harry "Suitcase" Simpson, who seemingly was involved in many big trades in the 1950's (he was traded 8 times in 4 seasons!).

Well, last night, with the Rays' needing a win to keep up their hopes for the best record in the American League, they traveled to Kansas City. Yes, lowly Kansas City, where they were shut out by none other than the 12-7 Bruce Chen. That's right, the same Bruce Chen whose suitcase has stickers from Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York Mets, Montreal, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore, Texas and now Kansas City. Chen's career record is 48-50, and he's had one of his two best seasons to date. Could it be that the adage that lefty starters take longer to develop and can pitcher longer be coming true for Chen? Does he have Jamie Moyer-like potential?

Bruce Chen has been a model of persistence. It will be interesting to see whether he returns to Kansas City or where his career takes him next.

There's always a need for another beguiling lefty starter.

Always.

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