Dan Duquette's tenure in Baltimore hasn't been especially awe-inspiring so far. You can expect the 2012 Orioles to look a lot like the 2011 Orioles, but with more pitching and bench depth. The one eye-catching difference on the roster is the two new starting pitchers from Nippon Professional Baseball. The NPB usually requires players making the jump to the big leagues to do it through the complicated posting system (made famous by Daisuke Matsuzaka, and this winter by Yu Darvish), but the O's picked up lefties Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen through simple free agency.
Wada and Chen were two of the best pitchers in Japan. They both started game one of the championship Nippon Series, Wada for the Softbank Hawks and Chen for the Chunichi Dragons. To us though they are just names. Enigmas even. I don't think I could even name all of the NPB teams (I get tripped up on the Buffaloes and BayStars). Patrick Newman, though, is exactly the man to ask about the new faces on the Orioles. He already knew about Wada and Chen long before the first rumor linking them to Baltimore, because he runs NPB Tracker, the website for baseball news from Japan. You can also find him on the twitter at @npbtracker.
After the jump comes my interview with him. After that, do what I do and go spend your browsing time on his website. There's a tremendous amount of information to be gleaned from it. You can even search just for Chen info or just for Wada info.
Firstly, my very large thanks to Patrick Newman for taking the time to answer my questions (which are in bold).
CC: We have seen in the recent past pitchers come over from Japan who have had success in the NPB but gone through a huge range of outcomes in MLB: those who struggled like Kei Igawa, those who found early success but then broke down and struggled like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kenshin Kawakami, those who eventually found their niche of success like Koji Uehara, and those who simply found success like Hiroki Kuroda. Obviously everybody has a unique situation, but what are the difficulties pitchers specifically have coming over to the US and adjusting to life in MLB, and is there a common thread amongst those who find success here?