Saturday, July 14, 2007

Farm Hens: Taiwan

The Red Sox have two extremely interesting players from Taiwan. They both have great promise, but are still far from the majors. Their names are Chih-Hsien Chiang and Che-Hsuan Lin. Expect to hear their names going forward as the Red Sox try to build a bigger influence in the East.

Chih-Hsien Chiang is the older and more highly totted of the 2. He is a 19 year old 2nd baseman. Standing 6' 1" and 180, he is slightly big for a 2nd baseman, but his deficiencies in the field limit him. It is possible to see him move to the outfield, but i strongly doubt it. He isn't your typical Red Sox player, walking only 5% if the time. To his credit, he is known for making good contact. That hasn't stood up so far in A ball, but the reputation is there. He has great power for a second baseman, but his LD% is very concerning. So far this year, he has only been able to post a 7% rate. That goes along with the other numbers he has posted, 10% and 11% at Lowell and the GCL respectively. For all the things that i don't like about him, he has been able to put up good numbers. Last year he had an OPS of .836 and this year at A ball he is hitting .737. The "Lebron of Taiwan" is a player that many are excited about. I would temper the excitement. The reality is far less than the reputation.

The man that i am more excited about is Che-Hsuan Lin. He is one year younger than Chiang and has far more athletic ability. He has great speed and a gun for an arm. Their are striking similarities to another Asian player, Ichiro. It was believed that if he had been in the draft he would have been a top 60 pick. He has already started Rookie ball, and has marginal success. For all of the down things, their are positive trends. He has been able to walk 13% of the time and shown an ability to steal bases. So far he has hit .211/.304/.333 but i'd expect that to rise because of his weak BABIP, which stand at .289. For a man that grounds the ball less than 50%, it should be higher. I believe the power will come along. It is much easier to teach a man power than teach a man to be patient. Odd how that is, but it's true. The simple size is so small at this point, it's hard to make a real judgement on the stats. So unlike Chiang, i think we will have to believe the hype for a little longer.


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