Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hitting the 148 Mark.....

Ta-Tung Cup:
*Shi-Yuan defeated San-Min 8-3 on Wednesday. Shi-Yuan starter Chun-Lin Kuo hit 148 kph (92 mph) on the radar gun, matching a tourney high alongside San-Hsin RHP Kuo-Hua Lo.
Kuo's line: W, 7 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 5 K's, 3 BB's.

*Hsin-She won 7-1 in Wed.'s other game.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Continued Coverage of the Ta-Tung Cup....

Ta-Tung Cup:
*The story of the day was Nan-Ying RHP Cheng-Han Tsai's (pictured above) CG shutout against Taichung Gao-Nong. Nan-Ying won 7-0. Tsai's stats: W, 9 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 10 K's, 0 BB's. Gao-Nong's heralded young slugger & cleanup hitter Chin-De Chang was 0-4 with a K against Tsai.
Tsai, who has good size at 6'2", was clocked at a high of 87 mph (he tops out at 90).
*San-Hsin RHP Kuo-Hua Lo picked up a W in relief for his school. San-Hsin won 2-0 over Hualien PE. Lo's line: W, 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 6 K's, 0 BB's.
*Ku-Pao won 4-0 on Tuesday. 4 pitchers (Chi-Yu Lin, Chun-Lung Chang, Ping-Hsueh Chen, Chieh Pan) combined on the shutout with all 4 hitting the radar gun close to 87 mph (per UDN). Chen hit 89 mph.

CY Lin Vid:

PH Chen Vid:

*The day's other winner was Taitung PE. Chih-Lung Yang picked up the W in Taitung PE's 3-0 win.
*Taiwanese coaches are heading to China (Former NPB'er Chuang will be in Jiangsu)

Monday, January 25, 2010

HS Prospecting: A Trio of Young RHP's.....

UDN and Liberty Times have a few articles out on the current Ta-Tung HS Cup going on right now.
A few names mentioned as players to watch out for the future included a few young pitchers:

1)RHP Kuo-Hua Lo (San-Hsin)

-17 years old (10/28/92)

-5'9", 163 pounds

-fb tops out at 92 mph/ has been mentioned before

2)RHP Chih-Lung Yang (Taitung PE)


-16 years old (4/17/93)

-6' 1 1/2", 176 pounds

-fb tops out at 88 mph

3)RHP Che-Hsien Chan (Nan-Ying)

-15 years old (2/24/94)

-6'0", 187 pounds

-fb tops out at 91 mph (He threw 1 perfect inning in Nan-Ying's 10-0 opening win in the Ta-Tung Cup on 1/24. Nan-Ying starter Chia-Hao Sung picked up the W, throwing 6 inning (0 R, 2 H, 7 K's, 0 BB's).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ta-Tung Cup to Kick Off....

*24 HS teams will be participating in the Ta-Tung Cup, which kicks off 1/24 and will culminate in the championship game on 2/4. Some of the top names participating in the tourney include Chin-De Chang (Gao-Nong), Sheng-Nan Chen (Kao-Yuan), and Kuo-Hua Lo (San-Hsin).

*UDN has some articles regarding the BC - (Scott) Boras Corp.. Boras, baseball superagent, represents some of the top names in the game today. From a Taiwanese perspective, he has represented Chin-Hui Tsao in the past and currently represents one of Taiwan's young stars in Che-Hsuan Lin. Lin has a unique setup regarding his representation - Bros (based in Taiwan) handles his marketing rights in Taiwan while the BC represents him in the US. Another top Taiwanese prospect Chia-Jen Lo, a Bros client may follow Che-Hsuan's route and have dual-representation (Bros/BC).

*Former top HS pitching prospects Rong-Hao Hsieh and Wen-Hao Cheng faced each other on Friday in the collegiate tourney. Cheng picked up the W, throwing 7 innings (2 R, 4 H, 4 K's, 1 BB). Hsieh was charged with the loss (6 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 3 K's, 2 BB's). Hsieh was clocked at a high of 92 mph.

*More on CYC

*More on the Dodgers/CPBL

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Golden Warrior Not So Golden....

*Star Elephants player Chih-Yuan Chen (CYC) has been accused of taking 1 million NT ($31 K USD) back in '06. Two more former Elephants players (Chung-Pei Wu & Yi-An Lai) were named as being involved in fixing games.

*Bulls top pick RHP Keng-Hao Chang, currently participating in a collegiate tourney, was found to have violated the no-agent rule - therefore prohibiting him from playing in the tourney. His team could also face some punishment for his transgressions.

*Ray Chang knows where he'll be playing in 2010. He was signed by the Red Sox to a minor league deal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kuo, Nearly a Millionaire......Cardinals Coming To Taiwan......

*The Dodgers and Hong-Chih Kuo agreed to a one year deal worth $975,000 for this upcoming season (Another site has the amount worth $937 K + additional money in performance incentives)

*The St. Louis Cardinals are sending a scout (Matt Slater?) to Taiwan, marking the team's initial presence on the island. Supposedly the scout is interested in CCU RHP Hao-Chun Chiu, Kao-Yuan HS left handed hitter Chi-Hung Hsu, and two kids from Nan-Ying HS.
Speaking of the Cards, the team has some interest in CMW.

*Former US minor leaguer and Chinese NT member Ray Chang will be coming to Taiwan in February to seek employment opportunities in the CPBL. He will also be visiting Japan to drum up some interest from NPB clubs.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More Briefs...

*The La New Bears made slugger Hung-Yu Lin one of their top signing priorities, inking the team's third round pick in '08 to a rich contract - the deal includes a 4 million NT ($126 K USD) signing bonus with an estimated annual salary of 100 K NT/month ($3,150 USD). That deal surpasses the one the Bulls handed to fellow collegiate NT slugger Tsung-Chun Wu.

*Coming to a Concensus?
Sinon Bulls 2009 top pick - Keng-Hao Chang is seeking a ~ 3.5 million NT signing bonus (with a 100 K NT/month salary). The Bulls have supposedly countered with a ~ 3 million NT signing bonus (with a 75 K NT/month salary).

*RHP Yen-Feng Lin is in camp with the Chiba Lott Marines. He has his weight down to 103 kg (~227 pounds).

*Former Hualien PE HS RHP Chun-Chen Chiang won't be pitching this year - he'll be at SS.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

News Briefs....

*The La New Bears have traded versatile IF Shih-Hao Huang to the Elephants in exchange for Chih-Hsiang Huang (former Red Sox farmhand).

*The Dodgers have not announced which roster players will be coming to Taiwan (safe to assume that Kuo and Hu will be there). Bros, who is helping to organize the event, is hoping that superstar Manny Ramirez is included on that list.

*Updates (1) (2) on Hanshin Tigers' Wei-Chu Lin

*It's never too early to look ahead, but this year's world junior baseball championships are being held in Canada again (the last one, held two years ago, was in Edmonton). The competition will take place in Thunder Bay, Ontario from July 23rd through August 1st. You can read more at the official site here.
If you're like me, you're probably asking yourself - when are the world junior baseball championships ever going to be hosted in the US (the last one held here was back in 1995)?! I posed this question to Jake Fehling, the IBAF's manager of media relations a while back and this was his response:

"We open up our championships for bid, and award them on a selection process. Often, only one country places a bid on being the host-country, and after reviewing its qualities, it is selected.

USA Baseball is not government funded like federations in other countries, so that plays a major role in the bidding process there.

I hope this helps."

It would be nice to attend one of these events on home soil in the not-so-distant future.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Miscellaneous News...

*The Dodgers will be playing two exhibition matches in March (on the 13th and 14th in Taiwan). The games will probably take place at Taipei's Tianmu Stadium. The brand new ball park in Taoyuan (Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium) was removed from consideration due to plumbing issues. Tickets for the game will range from 500 to 2000 NT each (~$16 to 63 USD).

*Speaking of the Dodgers, Kuo has filed for arbitration - he'll look to break the 7 figure mark (made $437 K last year).

*Alex Speier from WEEI, has a nice writeup on Che-Hsuan Lin.

Fellow minor leaguer Chia-Jen Lo was one of five non-roster invitees to ST for the Astros: "We think he's got a legitimate chance to make our club." - Ed Wade (Astros GM)

*Takatsu's officially set to join the Bulls. He'll make ~$13 K USD/month. The Elephants have come to terms with top draft pick En-Yu Lin. He'll earn 290,000 NT/month (~$9,100 USD) this season.

*Two more former Whales players were arrested for their suspected involvement in fixing games.

*Japanese-Taiwanese goodwill games

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).

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Best and Worst of 2009 (Scouting)......

Alright, it's time to give props to the hardworking guys who spend countless hours scouting and identifying players of interest for their organizations in Taiwan.

Best Performing Scout of the Year: Steve Wilson (Cubs) - Ever since he changed organizations from the Phillies to the Cubs, he's been extremely active in signing top talent from both Taiwan and South Korea and hence providing opportunities for young Asian players. 2009 was no different; Wilson signed 3 of the better amateur players from Taiwan - INF Ping-Chieh Chen, RHP Tzu-An Wang, and RHP Yao-Lin Wang. Athletic INF Chen was the top positional amateur player in Taiwan in '09. RHP TA Wang, with his projectable size, has tremendous upside. RHP YL Wang was one of the hardest throwers in his HS class.
To help ease the kids' transition to the US, Wilson hired trainer/interpreter Keith Chiang (former ball player) and assistant/interpreter Wayne Wang.
By establishing a good peripheral support network for the kids and by inking some of the top youngsters in Taiwan, Wilson earns the '09 Taiwanese scout of the year.

Runner Up: Allen Lin (Tigers) - Lin helped the Tigers to ink 2 players from Taiwan in '09, including LHP Fu-Te Ni who made an impact on the Tigers' big league club in '09. Lin deserves a tremendous amount of credit for convincing Ni to leave the CPBL for only $170K (signing bonus). Lin's other signing - LHP Hua-Wei Lo has a decent arm but is still raw at pitching. He needs some improvement on his mechanics, but all things considered, he's a lefty that can touch 91 mph.

Worst Performing Scout of the Year: Jeremy Chou (Braves) - His first signing (RHP Cheng-En Hung), who was proclaimed the next Chien-Ming Wang, was released in spring training after years of poor performance and a shoulder injury. His latest signing - C Meng-Hsiu Tsai spent another year playing in Australia. He reportedly showed poor work ethic and had some character issues.
In addition, it is rumored that he encouraged the Octagon agency to go after Chunichi Dragons LHP Wei-Yin Chen and recently offered Taichung Gao-Nong HS INF/C Chin-De Chang $400 K during the reent National HS Wood Bat Tourney without getting approval from his supervisor.

Runner Up: Paul Hsu (Phillies) - A rookie scout with a background in the financial industry, he was able to secure the position for the Phillies upon a recommendation from the Yankees' scout Ken Su. He created quite a stir locally with the rumor of establishing a baseball agency with the name of JPR (in addition to his scouting duties). The "P" in JPR stands for his own name - Paul while the "J" stands for Joseph Tsai (from the wealthy Cathay Group). In fact, JPR just had Twins minor league coach Jack Mauer putting on a clinic in Taiwan. Paul was the main rep from JPR - check out the photo below of Paul (wearing his Phillies gear) with Mauer:

*The gambling scandal involving the CPBL continues to unearth new names, including Elephants star OF Chih-Yuan Chen, former Elephants star Feng-An Tsai, and former La New Bears P Andrew Lorraine.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Yu-Cheng Liao Blackballed!

The CPBL has lost another one of its top domestic pitchers as Elephants submariner Yu-Cheng Liao has admitted to accepting some dirty money (600 K NT) back in 2007. He was dismissed from the team.
The Elephants have already taken a huge hit this past year because of the number of players involved in the scandal (Chin-Hui Tsao and the Elephants have already parted ways).

Two other CPBL players (Bears RHP Hung-Jen Huang and Bulls C Yi-Wei Lee) were also recently released from their respective teams for their involvement in fixing games.

*Interesting read on former Bulls C Chun-Chang Yeh's legal battle with his former employer.

*CMW Update

Monday, January 04, 2010

False Rumor....

Well, it turns out that the reports of an "imminent" signing of Taiwanese OF Chia-Jung Lee were premature. Lee's reps (JPR) and the Phils' international scouting supervisor Sal Agostinelli have both debunked the rumor that Lee will be a future Phillies minor leaguer.