Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #51 Wei-Chung Wang

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Welcome back in to “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, my annual countdown to Brewers’ Opening Day by way of profiling players who wear the number on their back that equals the numbers of days remaining until the should-be National holiday.

Today is Saturday, February 8th. Pitchers and Catchers officially report to Maryvale Baseball Park in just one week…hold on, I’m going to go tweet that. (Follow me: @BrewerNation)

We are 51 days away from Opening Day today and while I don’t get to profile Trevor Hoffman, I also don’t have to profile Michael Gonzalez, so that kind of evens out.

Instead, we go from those veterans to the opposite end of the age spectrum as we take a closer look at…

Wei-Chung Wang.


Wang, who will still be just 21 years old on Opening Day, was selected by the Brewers in 2013’s Rule V Draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates system and is just about the youngest Rule V pick that you’ll ever see. The reason for that is after he was signed as an international free agent out of Taiwan in 2011, his original contract was voided after his physical revealed a torn elbow ligament. That required Tommy John surgery and a new contract which, coupled with his age, resulted in exposure to the Rule V Draft.

Here’s the situation Wang and Brewers are in. Wang must not only be on the 25-man roster in 51 days (Opening Day, remember) but must also stay on it for the entire season. If he can’t, he must be offered back to the Pirates. The Pirates can pay $25,000.00 to reacquire Wang, which they likely would. Wang is eligible to spend time on the disabled list if need be, but only so much before needing to be offered back as well.

Brewers GM Doug Melvin was quoted shortly after the Rule V Draft in saying that, “We’re hoping for some upside here, coming off of Tommy John surgery. It’s a chance to capture what we might consider a high-level prospect.”

And this choice is exactly that first part: a pure upside move. There’s little risk if Wang doesn’t work out and if he can stick for a year as a reliever then the Brewers are free to option him back down to the minors for the 2015 season and begin to build him back into the starting pitcher and so many have projected him capable of becoming.

So how will he stick?

Wang’s fastball sits 91-93 and hits 95 MPH out of a high three-quarters delivery and he’s reportedly developing two secondary pitches (a curveball and a changeup) which are projecting to be plus with the change already considered his best pitch. If that change of pace is ready to go by the end of Spring Training, Wang could certainly make the 25-man as a full-inning relief pitcher or fall into a specialist role with both Will Smith and Tom Gorzelanny projected to be in Ron Roenicke’s bullpen by the end of April if not sooner (which depends on Gorzelanny’s health following off-season surgery than anything).

What piqued the Brewers interest in Wang is not only his stuff as it would play in the bullpen, but also the projectability into a future member of the starting rotation.

Wang is helped by the fact that pitchers are the most commonly kept players out of Rule V drafts. The Brewers lost a lefty reliever of their own just a couple of years ago when Lucas Luetge was selected by Jack Zduriencik and the Seattle Mariners. Luetge stuck in 2012 and was then was optioned as needed in 2013.

Going the other way though, the Brewers haven’t kept a Rule V selection since 2004. That was flat-brimmed hat sporting reliever Jeff Bennett who was coincidentally also taken from the Pirates’ minor-league system.

But enough about those other guys.

As for Wang’s results on the mound, there isn’t a ton to look at. That’s because he didn’t pitch in 2012 at all while recovering from that aforementioned Tommy John surgery and then only appeared in 12 games with Pittsburgh’s rookie ball affiliate in 2013. In those 12 games though, 11 of which were starts, Wang posted a 3.23 ERA supported by a 2.29 FIP and a 2.89 SIERA. His WHIP in his 47.1 innings was under 1.00 at 0.866 and he struck out 42 while walking just four.

Perhaps that’s what you should expect out of someone with Wang’s pedigree, but the 6’1″ lefty still had to go out and do it following the career-saving surgery. Now the Brewers are hoping that he can do it again, at least well enough to justify his spot in Milwaukee this season.

Do that in the present, and the Brewers may have picked up a key piece for the future.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:



  1. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #50 Jose De La Torre « The Brewer Nation
  2. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #49 Yovani Gallardo « The Brewer Nation
  3. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #47 Rob Wooten « The Brewer Nation
  4. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #46 Hiram Burgos « The Brewer Nation
  5. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #45 Alfredo Figaro « The Brewer Nation
  6. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #41 Marco Estrada « The Brewer Nation
  7. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #40 Johnny Hellweg « The Brewer Nation
  8. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #38 Wily Peralta « The Brewer Nation
  9. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #32 Tom Gorzelanny « The Brewer Nation
  10. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #30 Tyler Thornburg « The Brewer Nation
  11. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #29 Jim Henderson « The Brewer Nation
  12. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #27 Carlos Gomez « The Brewer Nation
  13. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #26 Kyle Lohse « The Brewer Nation
  14. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #25 Hunter Morris « The Brewer Nation
  15. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #24 Lyle Overbay « The Brewer Nation
  16. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #23 Rickie Weeks « The Brewer Nation
  17. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #22 Matt Garza « The Brewer Nation
  18. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #21 Juan Francisco « The Brewer Nation
  19. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #20 Jonathan Lucroy « The Brewer Nation
  20. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #18 Khris Davis « The Brewer Nation
  21. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #16 Aramis Ramirez « The Brewer Nation
  22. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #15 Caleb Gindl « The Brewer Nation
  23. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #14 Jeff Bianchi « The Brewer Nation
  24. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #13 Will Smith « The Brewer Nation
  25. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #12 Martin Maldonado « The Brewer Nation

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