Chicago Cubs’ Jen-Ho Tseng goes from riches to rags

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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There are times when prospects, especially those of the Chicago Cubs, come out of nowhere. But early success doesn’t mean continued success, as Jen-Ho Tseng has found out the hard way.

It’s rare I find myself writing about a Chicago Cubs ‘prospect’–and I use that term loosely–twice over the course of a few weeks. But Jen-Ho Tseng is getting that honor from me, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s one thing when you have success in the minors, but struggle when you get the call. That’s happened to many great players. So then you head back down and work on your game. But that’s not how it’s gone for Tseng.

When Spring Training opened, I penned a piece about Tseng getting an ‘honorary start’ in the opener. It was tongue in cheek, but I felt bad about it. Then Tseng got out there and pitched. I felt way better about it after seeing the results he’s getting. Well, the lack of results.

The two-time minor league pitcher of the year for the Cubs’ organization might not have hit rock bottom yet. But it might be time to cover his head and brace for impact because it’s inevitable.

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In 2014, Tseng won the award in his first season with the Cubs. He would win it again in 2017, and get a little ‘surprise’ from manager Joe Maddon. After receiving his award at Wrigley Field, he would be called up to start a game. What an honor. This was a chance to impress. He just won some hardware, time to show why.

Form that day forth, Tseng has been on a downward spiral that, I believe, should end up in his release. He’s currently on the 40-man, and there might be others we could put on there. *Cough cough* Nico Hoerner *cough cough*. At this point, Tseng might end up throwing darts at a picture of Maddon for the rest of his career.

Of course, none of this is Maddon’s fault. And it isn’t necessarily Tseng’s. But there has to be blame somewhere because his numbers have been horrific since that call-up. In three games in Chicago, he’s posted a 9.00 ERA in just eight innings of works. In his defense, five earned runs came in that debut. So, let’s chalk it up to jitters. But it’s what’s happened since then that is the most concerning.

After heading back to Iowa for the 2018 season, Tseng posted a 2-15 record. Now, I see where you might go here. The win for a pitcher is outdated. I agree. The problem is all the other numbers are terrible, too. His WHIP was 1.489, carried a 6.27 ERA and allowed 20 home runs in 136 1/3.

But maybe he’ll get it back together this year. Umm…probably not. He’s already been assigned to minor league camp. Likely because his numbers in Spring Training look like this:

0-1, 15.43 ERA, 4 2/3 IP, 8 runs, 8 hits, a .364 BA allowed and a WHIP of 2.145.

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I don’t want to be THAT guy. But someone needs to. A fresh start for this kid might be his best chance for redemption. I mean, what if he does figure it out and win minor league pitcher a THIRD time? I guess that’s something to hang your hat on should you choose to. But it’s time to move on from Tseng.

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