WEI-CHUNG WANG, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: April 25, 1992
Signed: International Free Agent, 2011
How Acquired: Waiver Claim (from Athletics)
Agent: Scott Boras
WTM’s PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|The Pirates initially signed Wang in the summer of 2011 for about $350,000, but the deal was voided when a physical revealed a torn ligament that required Tommy John surgery. Wang signed at a reduced price in the fall and was in camp in March. He spent only one season pitching for the Pirates, though; once his original contract was voided and he re-signed, he became immediately eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Milwaukee claimed him even though he’d never pitched above rookie ball. The move ultimately did nothing for Milwaukee and probably hampered Wang greatly. Wang throws 91-92 mph. When he first joined the Pirates he threw a curve and change, but now he throws a slider instead of the curve. The change appears to be his best pitch, as he’s typically had a reverse platoon split.
Wang spent 2012 recovering from the elbow surgery.
Wang was the GCL Pirates’ top starter and had a good year; his peripherals were much better than his ERA. He had a significant reverse platoon split. His velocity early in the year was in the upper-80s, but by the end of the season he was pitching from 90-94. After the season, though, Milwaukee selected Wang in the Rule 5 draft.
Wang spent 90 days with the Brewers, long enough to satisfy the Rule 5 requirements. They then shut him down with shoulder tightness, although he spent some time on minor league rehab. He obviously wasn’t ready for the majors, to nobody’s surprise. In fact, he contributed to early-season bullpen woes that helped cost the Brewers a playoff spot, which was a fitting outcome.
The Brewers sent Wang to high A, where he spent the season in the rotation. He pitched decently but wasn’t overly impressive, considering the low-offense environment. He again had a significant reverse platoon split. In June, Milwaukee designated Wang for assignment and he wasn’t claimed off waivers.
Wang moved up to AA and continued his solid performance as a starter. This time, he had a very large conventional platoon split.
The Brewers moved Wang to the bullpen in AAA and he was more successful pitching in relief. He went back to having a substantial reverse platoon split. Milwaukee called him up at the end of July. The Brewers evidently didn’t look at his platoon splits, because they tried to use him as a lefty specialist. In eight games, he recorded only four outs. After the season, the Brewers released him.
Wang caught on in Korea as a starter.
Oakland signed Wang to a minor league deal and sent him to AAA. He pitched better than the ERA indicates; the average ERA in the Pacific Coast League was nearly 6.00. Oakland called him up in late May. He put up a good ERA, but it was misleading. His batting average on balls in play was an unsustainable .231 and he also benefited from a high strand rate of 84.5%. His xFIP was 6.46. He was much more effective against left-handed batters, holding them to an OPS of .521, compared to .844 by right-handed batters. The A’s designated him for assignment in late August and the Pirates claimed him. Wang got into only five games with the Pirates, throwing four mostly ineffective innings. He didn’t pitch after mid-September due to an injury.
There isn’t really much in Wang’s track record to suggest that he’ll be especially effective going forward, but GM Neal Huntington was remarkably unsuccessful at addressing the Pirates’ bullpen problems and the only real criterion the Pirates seemed to apply is cheapness. Wang still has an option left, but the Pirates outrighted him to AAA after the season.
|2020: Minor League Salary|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: 4/14/2014
MiLB FA Eligible: 2018
MLB FA Eligible: 2024
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 12/12/2013 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2015, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 1.035
|October 3, 2011: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.
December 12, 2013: Selected in the Rule 5 draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates by the Milwaukee Brewers.
June 16, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers; outrighted to class A on June 18.
July 30, 2017: Called up by the Milwaukee Brewers.
January 1, 2018: Released by the Milwaukee Brewers.
February 2, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Oakland Athletics.
May 25, 2019: Called up by the Oakland Athletics.
August 29, 2019: Designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics.
August 31, 2019: Claimed off waivers from the Oakland Athletics by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
November 4, 2019: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.