Monday, February 26, 2007

Signing Bonuses...

With the recent downward spiral in sign-on bonuses for Taiwanese HS kids joining MLB clubs, I was surprised when the Anaheim Angels inked the top Korean HS kid - Young-Il Jung with a $1 million sign on bonus. Baseball America then promptly named the kid the #4 prospect in the entire system. Granted, the kid is talented - (maxes out at 93 mph), however I'm not quite sure if pure physical talent is the only reason why the Angels shelled out so much $$$ for his services.

Cracking the Korean market is tough, as Shin-Soo Choo and Jae-Kuk Ryu are two of the more recent successful kids to make the jump to the US from HS. If you combine the past string of Korean HS kids who didn't pan out in the US with the fact that the KBO does a good job of holding on to young domestic talent, you can see why the signings from Korea have been more infrequent recently. With that said, the Angels were probably able to steal Jung away from the KBO by inking their 2006 first round draft pick - Hank Conger who is Korean-American. Also it doesn't hurt that Southern Cal has a huge Korean-American population who come out in full force to support their roots - ie the World Baseball Classic, World Cup appearances, Chan Ho Park when he was a Dodger. Hopefully we continue to see more signings from South Korea in the future.

With that said, the last HS kid from Taiwan to receive a 7 figure sign-on bonus was Ching-Lung Lo in 2001 ($1.4 million). Lo's upside as a 16 year old and the fact that he stood 6'4" and threw in the low 90's justified his sign-on bonus. The only other 2 HS kids from Taiwan to receive more were Chin-Hui Tsao with $2.2 million in 1999 and Hong-Chih Kuo with $1.25 million also in 1999. The next kid down the list is Chia-An Huang who was signed for $710,000 in 2004. Huang's reputation as an 18 year old mirror the same descriptions for Young-Il Jung - a top young power right handed pitcher.

Let's take a look at the signing bonuses for all the Taiwanese kids in MLB organizations:
1)*Chin-Hui Tsao $2.2 million 1999
2)Chien-Ming Wang $1.9 million 2000
3)*Ching-Lung Lo $1.4 million 2001
4)*Hong-Chih Kuo $1.25 million 1999
5)*Chia-An Huang $710,000 2004
6)Chin-Feng Chen $680,000 1999
7)*Chi-Hung Cheng $400,000 2003
8)*Chih-Hsien Chiang $375,000 2005
9)Sung-Wei Tseng $300,000 2006
10)Po-Yu Lin $250,000 2006
11)Po-Hsuan Keng $220,000 2004
12)Yung-Chi Chen $200,000 2003
13)Kuo-Hui Lo $155,000 2005
14)Sheng-An Kuo $150,000 2007
15)*Ching-Lung Hu $150,000 2003
16)*Chen-En Hong $120,000 2006
17)*Wang-Wei Lin $120,000 2006
18)*Chih-Hsiang Huang $100,000 2006
19)TJ Yeh $80,000 2005
20)*Chao-Kuan Wu $71,000 2002
21)Yen-Feng Lin $60,000 2005
22)*Wang-Yi Lin $58,000 2005
23)Kevin Huang $50,000 2000
* signed out of HS

What does this tell us? Well, for one it's obvious that there's a big drop-off in talent after all the big names signed in 1999 - 2001. After 2001, the top HS pitcher to come out of Taiwan (and to the US) has been Chia- An Huang. The top hitting HS prospect to come out of Taiwan (and to the US) has been Chih-Hsien Chiang. As good as these 2 kids are, the current trend has seen a shift of the most talented Taiwanese HS kids going to HS in Japan and receiving hefty signing bonuses.

Cases in point:
1)Chih-Chia Chang $1 million 2002
2)*Chung-Shou Yang $750,000 2005
3)Wei-Yin Chen $850,000 - comprehensive package including incentives 2004
4)Chien-Ming Chiang $700,000 - comprehensive package including incentives 2005
5)Yao-Hsun Yang $346,000 2005
6)*Ping Yen-Lee $335,000 2006
7)*Yi-Hao Lin $100,000 2006 - the Giants got a steal of a deal here!
*signed out of HS/junior high

The post 2001 signings have seen MLB take a chance on "developing players" out of Taiwan while the NPB has shown an interest in players that are polished and ready - top young prospects like those listed above and the cream of the crop in the CPBL:

1)En-Yu Lin $430,000 2006
2)Si-Yo Wu $344,000 2006

Hopefully we'll see where C.H. Lin and H.H. Kuo stand pretty soon.

***All data obtained from various media outlets and sources - so the $ may vary slightly.

ESPN has a pretty good article on baseball in Asia.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

ST Pics....

Taking a look at Wang, Kuo, Tsao, and Hu in their respective big-league camps:
Tsao-Kuo stretchin'

Dodger Blue suits Tsao just fine

Non-roster invitee Hu

*Word is that Atlanta Braves signee - P Chen-En Hong and Twins OF Wang-Wei Lin will be playing in Australia this year after attending extended ST in the US.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Che-Hsuan Lin - 2007 Vid Highlights...

In a previous post, we got a chance to see some of C.H. Lin's highlights from 2005.

Here are 2 more short clips of Lin in action from Feb. 2007 - during the most recent HS tournament in Taiwan.

Video 1 Link - Great Throw

Video 2 Link - Great Glove

There aren't too many HS CF's in the US (none in Taiwan) that have Lin's defensive abilities.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Loose Ends...

*Former Seibu Lions pitching great, Tai-Yuan Kuo will lead the NT later this year in 2 key tourneys - the Asian Baseball Championships and more importantly, the Asia qualifier for the 2008 Beijing Olympics (only top two teams qualify + home team China).

*Hanshin Tigers OF Wei-Chu Lin has been wielding a hot bat as of late in ST. He was 3-3 against the Nippon Fighters on Saturday, raising his ST average to .600 over 3 games.

*Jason Churchill, who runs (gives an indepth look at the Mariners and their farm system) has a fairly accurate writeup on Yung-Chi Chen, whom he has rated as the 15th best prospect in the system.

Friday, February 16, 2007


First of all, I want to say thank you to all who come and visit this blog. My aim is to provide accurate information in English regarding what's going on in the world of Taiwanese amateur and professional baseball.

I recently had to delete a post in the comments section that attempted to spread a false rumor regarding a MLB organization signing C.H. Lin.* As far as I am concerned, this rumor is false based on the info that I know. The only known fact is that several MLB organizations are very interested in Lin - although I'm sure that this time around, all involved parties want to avoid the C.H. Chiang early signing fiasco from a lil' while back. To the poster(momo1845) of that comment (and to future posters), I'd appreciate that if you do post such a claim, that you email me your source/link to help substantiate your claim - otherwise I will delete your post.

I also want to thank everyone who replied to the previous job ad. One of the readers (who will remain anonymous at this time) of this blog was actually hired by the respective MLB organization to serve as an interpreter for returning minor league Taiwanese ball player(s) in the '07 season. Congrats to you and good luck this season!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nan-Ying Wins HS Tourney!!

Man of the Hour - Che Hsuan Lin

Nan-Ying Celebration!

Nan-Ying defeated Kupao HS 5-3 in the championship game of the Elite HS tourney on Wednesday. Facing off against Kupao's 16 year old phenom Rong-Hao Hsieh, top prospect Che-Hsuan Lin was 4-4 with 4 RBI's, 1 intentional walk, and 1 run scored to help lead Nan-Ying to the gold medal. Including his 2-4 night in the semis against Taichung Gao Nong HS, Lin hit .533 in the tournament - good for second overall in the entire tourney. Hsieh, who won't turn 17 until July threw consistently in the 85 to 90 mph range in the game and topped out at 91 mph. Hsieh was on the "AA" Youth national team (16 and under) that won the 2006 Asian Championships. Taichung Gao Nong HS (won the national HS tourney in January) finished 3rd overall.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Che-Hsuan Lin Video....

The following is a quick 1 minute peek at the skills of HS OF Che-Hsuan Lin (footage from 2005):

Video Link

Lin's HS - Nan Ying defeated Taichung Gao Nong HS Monday in the semis of the current HS tourney going on. Nan Ying will play Kupao in the championship game on Tuesday.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's All About the Lins....

On Sunday in the NPB, the Hanshin Tigers played the Nippon Fighters in ST.
Lin #1

Tigers OF Wei-Chu Lin cracked a 2 run HR in the 6th inning to help lead his team to a 10-9 win. Lin has been swinging the bat well in BP as of late. Youngster C.S. Yang did not see the field for the Fighters.

Lin x 2

Pitchers En-Yu Lin, Ying-Chieh Lin, and Chien-Ming Chiang all participated on their respective team's intrasquad games on Sunday as well. Nothing important to note, although E.Y. Lin was clocked at 91 mph on his fastball. Y.C. Lin maxed out at 85 mph on his fastball.

Friday, February 09, 2007

"I've Got Next!!"

Sheng-An Kuo was the first signing of 2007. Who's next? Well, the top two prospects are both in HS, although one is playing in Japan.

1)The top signable HS prospect gathering significant attention in Taiwan is Nan-Ying Vocational HS (This Tainan HS baseball powerhouse has produced current Dodgers: Hong-Chih Kuo and Ching-Lung Hu) OF Che-Hsuan Lin. Rumor has it that multiple MLB teams, including the Cubs, Reds, Red Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays, and Twins have interest in Lin. Arguably the top positional player on the island in his graduating HS class, the kid is blessed with a lot of plus tools. The 18 year old's (DOB: 9/21/88) best attribute is his outstanding speed. He has run a 10.9 in the 100m dash. Not only is he athletic, but he has a plus arm, hits for average, has above average power, and is plus-plus defensively. The 6'0 - 185 pounder bats and throws righty.

Lin competed for the Taiwanese junior NT in 2006 - a team that finished 5th at the 22nd AAA World Junior Baseball Championships. During the competition, Lin appeared in 8 games, starting all games in CF. In 34 AB's, he hit .353, slugged .471, cracked a double, a HR, scored 7 runs, had 2 RBI's and 2 SB's. He also played flawless defense with no errors in the field.

Lin burst onto the world stage in 2000 when he hit a grand slam (one of only 9 in Bronco Series history) in the Bronco League World Series (for kids 11-12 years old). He alongside fellow junior NT and HS teammate Kai-Wen Cheng, led their Tainan team to the 2000 Pony League (Bronco Division) World Series Championship.

In a year with a weak crop of graduating HS pitchers, Lin is expected to be the second member of the 2006 junior NT to join a MLB organization (the first being OF Wang-Wei Lin of the Minnesota Twins). Due to current CTBA rules, don't expect Lin's signing to become official until after he graduates HS.

Here is a video link (courtesy of Heavenly Star) of Nan-Ying in action. Lin is #8 in the white uniform and is the leadoff hitter in the video.

Y.W. Kuo

C.H. Lin's HS teammate and fellow 2006 junior NT member Yen-Wen Kuo (SS) is another prospect who has garnered some attention. However as you can see from this video, Kuo def. needs to fill out his frame with a good weight training program. The 18 year old (DOB: 10/25/1988) stands 5'11" and weighs 168 pounds.

+'s for Kuo: soft hands, good range in the field, accurate arm, good bat control, plus runner
-'s for Kuo: lacks power, weak arm

2)The other top prospect is LHP Heng-Hsiao Kuo, who is currently playing HS baseball in Japan. Kuo who stands 5'11" has a max fastball of 92 mph. H.H. Kuo is following in the footsteps of Chung-Shou Yang by playing at his alma mater - Fukuoka Daiichi HS. Kuo is joined by 2 other Taiwanese kids currently playing in Fukuoka, Japan. Kuo is good enough to be considered a possible first round pick in next year's NPB HS draft.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

One and Done....

TJ - Damn, we hardly knew you!

TJ Yeh was released by the Red Sox per Frank via BaseballAmerica's recent minor league transaction detail list. TJ played one year in the organization with the Lowell Spinners and posted subpar numbers in limited appearances. TJ will head back home and play in the CPBL - he'll probably join the team that originally drafted him - the Elephants. TJ is the second Taiwanese flameout for the Red Sox, following in the footsteps of Kevin Huang.

Spring training news on Chung-Shou Yang: Yang tweaked a hammy doing windsprints on Friday. The injury isn't too bad as Yang cranked out 7 HR's in 33 swings yesterday.

In other NPB ST news, sad to say, but it looks like Wei-Chu Lin's chances of getting more PT might hinge on the health of CF N. Akahoshi. Lin cranked out 9 HR's in 63 swings in a recent session.