Hung-Wen Chen

From BR Bullpen

Hung-Wen Chen (陳鴻文) (Little Flying Knife)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 210 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Hung-Wen Chen began his minor league career in 2007. He is the nephew of former Olympic hurler Yi-Hsin Chen.

Chen was part of the Taiwan national team in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA, allowing 7 hits in 5 1/3 innings. In the 2006 Haarlem Baseball Week, he allowed one run in eight innings and fanned eight in a stunning 1-0 loss to the Chinese national team. Chen was hitting as high as 94 mph on the radar gun in college and drew the interest of the Chicago Cubs, who signed him for a $200,000 bonus. He was the first Taiwanese player ever signed by the Cubs.

Chen debuted in the US in 2007, pitching briefly for the AZL Cubs (10.12 ERA in 2 games) and Boise Hawks (1-0, 3.60 in 2 games). In 2008, he was with the Daytona Cubs (2-1, 3.65) and the Peoria Chiefs (2-4, 3.15, 12 BB in 71 1/3 IP). He was on Taiwan's roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic but did not pitch in the Classic itself.

He began 2009 in AA, recorded 8-11 with 4.48 ERA for the Tennessee Smokies. He got 8-6 with 2.96 ERA there the next year, and was promoted to the AAA Iowa Cubs in the middle of the season. He didn't play well there, as he was 3-4 with 5.98 ERA. Chen represented Taiwan in the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, starting 6 1/3 innings against South Korea, and allowed 3 runs in a 11-5 win. His second start was against Japan, allowing four runs in 1 1/3 IP. In the Bronze Medal Game, he faced off against Italy. Chen pitched 5 innings, only allowed 3 runs, but his teammates only gave him two runs of support and he recorded a loss. He also joined Taiwan for the 2010 Asian Games. The young pitcher began with the Smokies in 2011, pitched 15 games with 4.03 ERA. The Cubs released him on March 26, 2012. He played for Taiwan in the 2012 Haarlem Baseball Week. He struck out three of four batters in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers as Taiwan defended their spot in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In the WBC itself, he was 0-1 with a save and a 5.40 ERA. He saved Chien-Ming Wang's opening win over Australia and lost to Kazuhisa Makita of defending champion Japan.

Chen was selected by the Brother Elephants in the 1st round of the 2013 CPBL draft. He was solid in the rookie year, going 6-5 with 2.96 ERA in 15 starts, and was selected into the All-Star game as a rookie. He extended his good condition, pitched 27 games with 16 starts in 2014, with a record of 7-8 with 2.67 ERA. When star closer Brad Thomas left, the Brothers decided to turned Chen into reliever in 2015. He adapted to this role soon, as he notched a league-leading 24 saves with elite 2.64 ERA. He broke the league record for 21 straight saves without a blown save as a local player. He was on Taiwan's squad in the 2015 Premier 12, pitching in all five games of the first round and didn't allowed any earned runs in 6 3/2 innings.

Chen led the league in saves for the second year in a row, with a record of 9-2 with 15 saves in 2016, but his ERA rose to 4.87 due to a juiced ball. He had a tough blown save in the 2016 Taiwan Series as the Elephants lost. He made Taiwan's roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. However, his pitching was a disaster for Taiwan. Chen's first game was against the Netherlands; he allowed 2 hits, plunked Andrelton Simmons and Jurickson Profar got a walk to end the game in the 9th inning. Chen faced South Korea in the 10th inning next day, and Tae-gun Kim blasted a 2-run dinger to make Chen take two losses in 24 hours. He tied Ryan Dempster and Yoennis Yera for the lead in losses in the tournament. His pitching worsened in 2017, when he only notched 9 saves with 5.81 ERA. The Elephants released him on the end of the season.

The Fubon Guardians signed Chen to a one-year deal on January 15, 2018. He started 7 times this season, and recorded a 4.62 ERA in 50 2/3 innings. The All-Star closer miraculously came back in 2019, pitched 53 innings with 1.70 ERA and 20 saves. He also was selected into the all-star game first time since 2016. He represented Taiwan to join the 2019 Premier 12, played five games, saved Yi Chang's win over Venezuela and didn't allowed any earned runs. He tied 11 other pitchers for the event lead in appearances; among those, he joined Clayton Andrews, Kuan-Yu Chen, Hiroshi Kaino, Noah Song, Yasuaki Yamasaki and Carlos Bustamante in not allowing a run.

Chen only got 16 saves with 4.77 ERA in the next year, and the Guardians moved him back to the rotation on the end of the season. In 2022, as young closer Jyun-Yue Tseng rose up; Chen only played 21 games and became a free agent at the end of the year.

The Rakuten Monkeys signed Chen in 2023. He collected his 100th career save on September 10, became the 5th pitcher in CPBL to reach this milestone.

His repertoire features a fastball that peaks at 96 mph and a forkball and a slider.