Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Best and Worst of 2009 (Minor League Players)

Best Performing Taiwanese Minor League Positional Player
CF Che-Hsuan Lin (Red Sox)
Signed for $400,000, Lin has improved each year in the minor leagues and has built an impressive resume including MVP honors for the 2008 MLB Future's Game. In 2009, he recovered from an injury that hindered his performance in April and made significant improvement with his plate discipline. He also led the league in OF assists. He is a true CF with good bat speed. Baseball America rated him as having the best OF arm and best plate discipline in the Red Sox organization in 2009. On top of everything else, he has an outstanding work ethic; he works on improving his game all year round. The Red Sox also invited him to participate in the organization's rookie career development camp (for top prospects only) being held in Boston right now. If he can have a good year in AA, a September call-up is very possible. Once he starts hitting for more power, then he would become a true 5-tool talent.

Best Performing Taiwanese Minor League Pitcher
RHP Chia-Jen Lo (Astros)
Signed for $250,000, Lo quickly jumped to Double-A and was a member of the 2009 MLB Future's Game in his first season. He continued to shine in the off-season with a decent performance in the Arizona Fall League, earning a pitcher of the week award. He showed an outstanding arm with a good delivery - his fastball touched 96. His fastball is an above average pitch that misses bats. His command and breaking pitches need improvement as his number of walks was a bit high. If he can continue to develop, he could potentially be the Astros' closer of the future with a possible September call-up.

Worst Performing Taiwanese Minor League Positional Player
C Meng-Hsiu Tsai (Braves)
Signed for $100,000, Tsai has spent the past 2 seasons playing in Australia mainly due to work ethic issues. There have also been rumors of him getting released due to his poor work ethic, which is unfortunate as his ongoing issues overshadow his talent (has some pop in his bat along with an average arm). If he shows up out of shape and continues to exhibit a poor work ethic in spring training, he could find himself permanently back in Taiwan in 2010.

Worst Performing Taiwanese Minor League Pitcher
RHP Sung-Wei Tseng (Indians)
Signed for $300,000 along with $70,000 for tuition, Tseng has regressed significantly since his first couple of seasons. His 2009 season was a forgettable one as he was demoted to rookie ball despite being 24 during the season. He continued to perform poorly in rookie ball, showing little zip on his fastball (no where near his 91-94 mph peak velocity, demonstrating a regression in his delivery and mechanics) and he was eventually shut down prior to the completion of the season. He is already an undersized righty and without any velocity on his fb and continued regression of his breaking pitches, it does not bode well for Tseng's future. Due to his age, a good performance during spring training would be absolutely vital for him to keep his job.

*The La New Bears are expecting CFC to play a defensive position for the upcoming season (1B/OF). After DH'ing almost exclusively last season, CFC's DH position may be supplanted by young slugger Hung-Yu Lin. CFC has lost weight since last season (he's a new dad) while former Blue Jays farmhand Po-Hsuan Keng's weight has ballooned out of control.

*There are some news reports linking former NPB and MLB reliever Shingo Takatsu with the Sinon Bulls and the CPBL. Takatsu would help to add some luster to a league still muddled in the game-fixing scandal(s).

*Ray Chang, the 26 year old former Pirates farmhand, is potentially seeking employment in Taiwan. Chang is represented by none other than JPR (he's their first client).

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