A member of the 2008 Taiwanese Olympic Team and the winner of the 2009 Futures Game, Chia-Jen Lo was a young pitcher with a promising future. But, in 2010, injuries began to sidetrack his career. The right-hander would undergo Tommy John surgery after only a handful of appearances in 2011 and wouldn’t return until well into the 2012 season.
Once Lo was fully recovered, the Astros didn’t waste any time in seeing what he could do. Following the 2012 season, Lo was sent to the Arizona Fall League to work as a late inning reliever. His mid-nineties fastball, curve, and splitter combination played well in the desert and the Astros liked what they saw. He was added to the 40-man roster that November.
Injuries kept Lo in extended spring training to start the 2013 season. Then, he made a quick run through the Astros minor league system and was promoted to Houston in late July. Lo hit the ground running and and was immediately put into some pressure packed, late game situations by Bo Porter. Lo managed to work his way into the closer’s conversation and saved a couple of games before running into some trouble.
His outstanding stuff helped Lo hold batters to a paltry .203 batting average in 19 big league appearances. But, his control was a bit of a problem. Lo walked 13 batters in only 19 & 1/3 innings pitched. The walks contributed to a couple of blown saves that eventually moved him down in the bullpen pecking order.
Lo will have plenty of competition for a bullpen spot this spring. He will need to show better command in order to break camp with the big league club. I think the potential is there for Lo to be a solid contributor. It will be interesting to see what the new pitching and bullpen coaches can do with him — and the rest of the staff.