Former Mets pitcher Chris Flexen is excelling in the KBO
By Tim Boyle
One of the best pitchers in the world right now is former New York Mets hurler Chris Flexen.
When the New York Mets parted ways with Chris Flexen and he found his way to the Doosan Bears over the winter, I’m not sure many people who bleed orange and blue shed a tear. Although just 25, he did little to impress as a big leaguer since debuting in 2017. In 68 innings, he was 3-11 with an 8.07 ERA.
The Chris Flexen we knew in New York hasn’t carried over to the KBO. Through three starts, Flexen is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA. After 20 innings, he already has 22 strikeouts compared to just 4 walks.
Who is this guy and what did he do with the righty we saw with the NYM on his cap?
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Flexen’s path toward major league stardom wasn’t paved in gold. The 14th round draft pick began his professional career in 2012 as a 17-year-old. Working his way up through the farm, he delivered both good and bad seasons.
In 2017, Flexen made a combined 10 starts at High-A and Double-A. The 6-1 record and 1.76 ERA were enough to award him a chance with the big league squad. It was in that ill-fated Mets season when he was a part of the disaster that was 2017.
Unfortunately, in the two years after, he failed to perform well in the majors and minors. It wasn’t a tough decision for the club to release him this past December.
I’m not saying there’s any regret at the decision. What I think we’re all mesmerized by is how well he has performed overseas this spring.
With North American baseball on hold and only the KBO present to entertain baseball fans, Flexen is starring. He’s one three ex-Mets in the league. For sure, he’s the one with the most to gain from a successful year.
Of course, this is all through only three starts in Korea. We’ve seen stranger things in baseball.
Although the options are limited, Flexen is one of the hottest pitchers in the world right now. I’m not much of a gambler, but if I was, I would be kicking myself right now for not having much belief in this kid.
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When things get back to normal, there’s a good chance Flexen can turn this performance into a deal with a team in Major League Baseball. Alternatively, Flexen could be one of those failed major leaguers who becomes a star in the Far East.