December 12th, 2013. The winter meetings were over and the Rule 5 draft had just taken place. The Brewers surprised the baseball world (the few who were paying attention anyway) by selecting a 21 year old left-handed pitcher out of rookie ball. ROOKIE BALL for cheesy Pete's!
We chuckled a bit. We might have even dreamed a bit. The kid was highly regarded in some circles after all. But not many of us really expected the Brewers to keep Wei-Chung Wang on the roster out of spring training. They did though.
But then even fewer still believed the Brewers would be able to keep him throughout the whole season. For some reason almost no one believed the Brewers would find some mysterious ailment in Wang's arm that would require a couple months of rehab. That's exactly what happened though. And now he's officially a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
I hesitate to mention his season at the MLB level. As should have been expected he was terrible. He had a 5.4 K%-BB%, .361 BAA, 2.19 WHIP, and 10.90 ERA. I hesitate to mention that because some people saw those numbers and thought the kid had no talent. It blows my freaking mind that people could be discouraged that a young pitcher who had never even pitched in low-A ball struggled at the major league level.
Those same people seem to ignore his *ahem* rehab stint in the minors. In 27 innings across Rk-A-A+ he struck out 22 batters, walked 4, allowed 0 home runs, and rocked a solid 2.33 ERA. That's a 21.4 K%, 3.8 BB%, .212 BAA, and a 0.926 WHIP. So, against an appropriate level of competition he performed quite well.
Wei-Chung Wang finished his season in the AFL. He wasn't quite as impressive logging only a 13.3 K% and a .253 BAA. But he still managed a 2.74 ERA while walking only 2 of the 90 batters he faced. He allowed a single home run.
I'd say the first game he pitched for the Brewers was his best game at the major league level. He made his first appearance two weeks into the season on April 14th against the Cardinals. Despite what must have been a nearly overwhelming fear that they would view him as a baby and devour him, he acquitted him self quite adequately. He faced 4 batters, allowed 1 hit, but zero runs.
Perhaps his best minor league game of the year came against Detroit's A+ affiliate on August 27th. While he did allow 2 runs, he pitched 7 innings giving up 7 base hits, striking out 8 batters, walking 0, and allowing 0 home runs.
Because the Brewers were able to sneak Wei-Chung Wang through 2014 at the major league level, they now have unfettered team control over him. He has all 3 minor league options remaining, giving him 3 more years to develop as a starting pitcher. B-Ref stats he will become arb-eligible in 2017 and first become available to free agency in 2020.