Saturday, February 11, 2017

2017 World Baseball Classic: Team China Roster



The full WBC rosters were released a couple of days ago. Oh boy am I excited! WBC is just around the corner. Let me give a quick rundown of the roster:

  • 28 players in total 
  • 20 players are from the China Baseball League - Sichuan 4, Beijing 3, Guangdong 3, Shanghai 3, Jiangsu 4, Tianjin 2, Henan 1)
  • 5 players from MLB/MiLB - including foreign players and free agents 
  • 2 players from the China MLB Developmental Center
  • 1 player from Korean Baseball Organization
MANAGER

JOHN MCLAREN

John is a former MiLB player and a MLB manager. He managed the Seattle Mariners 2007-2008 and Washington Nationals in 2011. He replaced Terry Collins as the manager for Team China. This will be his second time managing Team China in WBC. 



PITCHERS

BRUCE CHEN - 陳用彩, LHP
DOB: 06/19/1977 (39 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'2"     WEIGHT: 215 lbs
TEAM: Retired - 1998-2015 MLB

FINALLY, THE BRUCE HAS COME BACK TO CHINA!!! Good old Bruce Chen been wanting to pitch for China since the last WBC and will finally get his chance this time. Wait a minute...How is he eligible to pitch for China if he's from Panama? Bruce's grandfather immigrated to Panama; therefore, he is eligible as long as he had shown proof. It's exciting to see Bruce pitch for China! Except, he's been retired for 2 years now and his fastball was around 83 mph (probably less now). Still, it's great to see an established pitcher trying to help Team China in advancing out of the first round. Here's one for Bruce! Good luck!

KUN CHEN - 陳坤, RHP
DOB: 03/05/1980 (36 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT:190 lbs
TEAM: Sichuan Dragons 四川蛟龍

Kun Chen is a veteran of China Baseball League. He has pitched in every edition of WBC since 2006 and in most of the international tournaments. His fastball was around 94 mph, but that was in 2009 WBC. 

DOB: 09/22/1992
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 180 lbs
TEAM: Free Agent - Last pitched for the New York Yankees minor league system

Andrew being in the roster caught me by surprised. He was selected by the Yankees in the 15th round of the 2014 MLB draft from Boston College. He was released in 2015 and it doesn't look like he has signed with any other team after that. Still, he is pretty young and can open some eyes during this tournament. He pitches in the high 80s with a sinking fastball and some decent secondary pitches. 

QUAN GAN - 甘泉, RHP
DOB: 06/17/1996 (20 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 180 lbs
TEAM: Sichuan Dragons 四川蛟龍

Not much is known about Quan Gan. He played in the Cross Strait Tournament last year against Taiwanese teams. This will be his first WBC. 

HAI CHENG GONG - 宮海成, RHP
DOB: 12/28/1998 (18 years old)
HEIGHT: N/A     WEIGHT: N/A
TEAM: MLB Developmental Center

Hai Cheng Gong is one of the pitchers I talked about before from the MLB Developmental Center. He pitched for China in the U18 Asia Baseball Championship last year and pitched pretty good (he threw over 100 pitches that game). His fastball is around high 80s to 90 mph. He is probably the most advance pitcher from the developmental center right now. I can't wait to see how he pitches in his first WBC tournament. 

KWON JU - 朱権, RHP
DOB: 05/31/1995 (21 years old)
HEIGHT: 5'11"     WEIGHT: 180 lbs
TEAM: Kt Wiz (Korean Baseball Organization)

Ju is one of the crown jewels pitching for Team China. He is originally from Jilin, China and is a ethnic Korean, but moved to South Korea when he was a teenager. He originally declined to pitch in December, but John Mclaren probably made him an offer he couldn't refuse...Anyway, he is the best pitcher by far in Team China. His stats weren't all that amazing last year for the Kt Wiz. He pitched 134 innings with a 6-8 W-L record and a 5.10 ERA. He is brilliant on some days and lousy on the rest. He's only 21 and turning 22 this year. Plenty of time for him to improve and become a great pitcher in KBO. Can't wait to see him pitch. 

XIN LI - 李鑫, LHP
DOB: 04/17/1992 (24 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 165 lbs
TEAM: Tianjin Lions 天津雄獅

Xin Li is one of the top pitchers in CBL. He's been around since 2009 and has pitched in many international tournaments. This will be his second WBC. He got hammered by Cuba in 2013, but he can get some redemption this time around!

YU LIU - 劉宇, RHP
DOB: 09/15/1991 (25 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'0"     WEIGHT: 167 lbs
TEAM: Beijing Tigers 北京猛虎

Yu is also a top pitcher in CBL. He has played in many international tournaments as well. He pitched in the 2013 WBC and also got bombed by Cuba. 

CHAO LU - 魯超, RHP
DOB: 10/09/1988 (28 years old)
HEIGHT: N/A     WEIGHT: N/A
TEAM: Guangdong Leopards 廣東獵豹

Not much information on Chao except that he has the same name as a Qing Dynasty politician and a China Basketball League player. He's got a reputation to live up to!

YU SONG LU - 逯宇松, RHP
DOB: 02/06/1992 (25 years old)
HEIGHT: N/A     WEIGHT: N/A
TEAM: Henan Elephants 河南吉象

Not much information about Yu. This will be his first WBC.

XIA LUO - 羅夏, RHP
DOB: 05/10/1992 (24 years old)
HEIGHT: 5'10"     WEIGHT: 165 lbs
TEAM: Sichuan Dragons 四川蛟龍

This will be Xia's second time in the WBC. He pitched against Japan in 2013 and did amazingly well (amazing as in not getting torched by the opposing team). Here's a clip of him pitching. His fastball was around 85 mph. His name in English translation is Rorschach! 

JI PING QI - 奇済平, RHP
DOB: 12/05/1995 (21 years old)
HEIGHT: N/A     WEIGHT: N/A
TEAM: Shanghai Golden Eagles 上海金鹰

Ji is the ace of Shanghai Golden Eagles. This will be his first WBC

MENG HAO WANG - 王蒙豪, RHP
DOB: 09/25/1992 (24 years old)
HEIGHT: N/A     WEIGHT: N/A
TEAM: Sichuan Dragons 四川蛟龍

Not much Information about Meng. This will be his first WBC.

CHAO QUN ZHENG - 鄭超群, RHP
DOB: 02/09/1993 (24 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'0"     WEIGHT: 198 lbs
TEAM: Jiangsu Pegasus 江蘇鉅馬

Another player with little information. I need to write something new. This will also be his first WBC!

CATCHERS

NING LI - 李寧, C - R/R
DOB: 11/12/1994 (22 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 187 lbs
TEAM: Shanghai Golden Eagles 上海金鹰

Ning is the youngest catcher in the group. He also has the same name of an Olympic gold medalist. 

WEI QIANG MENG - 孟偉強, C - R/R
DOB: 05/31/1989 (27 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 188 lbs
TEAM: Guangdong Leopards 廣東獵豹

Wei is a young veteran of CBL and has been around since 2009. This will be his second time in WBC. 

WEI WANG - 王偉, C - R/R
DOB: 12/25/1978 (38 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 180 lbs
TEAM: Beijing Tigers 北京猛虎

Wei Wang, the old guard of China baseball, the captain, and probably the best known player from CBL. He has been around for a long time and will probably coach after he retires. If you don't remember, Wei was one of the players signed by a MLB baseball team along with 3 other players back in 2008. He never played a single game in the minors, but did play some games in the Arizona Fall League. He was also known as the guy who got injured by Matt LaPorta during the 2008 Summer Olympic games. This will probably be Wei's final WBC. He will get a big hit for China!

INFIELDERS

RAY CHANG - 張宝樹, SS, R/R
DOB: 08/24/1983 (33 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 195 lbs
TEAM: Free Agent - Minor Leaguer (AAA)

If you don't know who Ray Chang is then you're not a Chinese Baseball fan! Ray is a career minor leaguer who reached AAA, but never made it to the show. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Diego Padres in 2005 and last played for the Cincinnati Reds last year. He was also the hero who helped beat Taiwan in 2009 WBC and Brazil in 2013. Because of this guy Team China did not need to qualify for a spot in 2017 WBC. Sadly, this will be Ray's last WBC. Earlier this year he announced that he is retiring from baseball after WBC and will help with the development of baseball in China. I can't wait to see what he'll do this year. Ray will have a glorious farewell! 

FU JIA CHU - 褚夫佳, 1B, L/L
DOB: 09/10/1989 (27 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 195 lbs
TEAM: Jiangsu Pegasus 江蘇鉅馬

Other than having the same last name as me, Fu is a solid player from CBL. He is considered a power hitter. This will be his third WBC. Here's a clip of him getting speared by a Taiwanese player. 

XIAO LEI DU - 杜暁磊, 2B, R/R
DOB: 05/25/1990 (26 years old)
HEIGHT: 5'11"     WEIGHT: 159 lbs
TEAM: Jiangsu Pegasus 江蘇鉅馬

Xiao is another solid infielder from CBL. He was named the 2015 CBL Championship MVP. This will be his first WBC.  

ZE YUAN LI - 李澤源, 3B, R/R
DOB: 04/23/1986 (30 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 198 lbs
TEAM: Beijing Tigers 北京猛虎

Ze played in the Shikoku Island League Plus, an independent Japanese baseball league back in 2009. Since then he has rejoined Beijing Tigers. This will be his first WBC. 

JOEY WONG, SS, L/R
DOB: 04/12/1988 (28 years old)
HEIGHT: 5'10"     WEIGHT: 185 lbs
TEAM: Colorado Rockies AAA

I'm not sure what the full story is with Joey, but he has a Chinese last name so he's in! Joey was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 24th round of the 2009 MLB draft. He has made it all the way to AAA, but has never reached the majors. He is a pretty good defensive player. He also plays for Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League. Here's an interview he did with Minor League Ball about his baseball background. This will be Joey's first roundabout for Team China. 

GUI YUAN XU (ITCHY) - 許桂源, 1B, L/L

DOB: 01/29/1996 (21 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'0"     WEIGHT: 188 lbs
TEAM: Baltimore Orioles - RK

Itchy is one of the first players from the China MLB developmental center to be signed by a MLB team. Baltimore Orioles signed him in 2015 for a mere $30,000. It's considered a low risk/high reward signing. Last year, Itchy made his debut in Rookie League and didn't play as well as we expected. He was often on the bench because of a big roster. He did not really get a chance to play everyday and I hope that did not hinder his development. Still, I'm very excited about Itchy and I hope he will at least advance through the minors if not the majors. This will be his first WBC. We will finally get to see his televised debut. 

OUTFIELDERS

YANG PENG CHEN (AARON) - 陈燕鹏, OF, R/R
DOB: 03/26/1996 (20 years old)
HEIGHT: 5'8"     WEIGHT: 185 lbs
TEAM: MLB Developmental Center 

Aaron is the second player from the MLB developmental center to join the WBC squad. We first heard about him in 2015 when he played for the Canberra Calvary in the Australian Baseball League. The other player with him was Liwi Huang 黃立威, but he did not make the roster this year. Since then, he has not played another game or been signed by any team. Hopefully, he can impress some scouts out there. 

ZHEN HONG LU - 陸振洪, OF, L/R
DOB: 04/15/1991 (29 years old)
HEIGHT: 5'9"     WEIGHT: 155 lbs
TEAM: Jiangsu Pegasus 江蘇鉅馬

Zhen has been in the CBL since 2011. This will be his second WBC. 

CHUANG NA - 那闖, OF, L/L
DOB: 03/15/1987 (29 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'1"     WEIGHT: 198 lbs
TEAM: Guangdong Leopards 廣東獵豹

Chuang was a former pitcher. He's been around in CBL since 2005. This will be his first WBC. 

SHUN YI YANG - 楊順意, OF, R/R
DOB: 01/01/1993 (29 years old)
HEIGHT: 6'2"     WEIGHT: 165 lbs
TEAM: Tianjin Lions 天津雄獅

Shun is one speedy player. He was crowned the 2016 CBL stolen base king. This will be his first WBC.  



PREDICTION

This is the best team China has ever constructed, but they are up against Japan, Cuba, and Australia. Their best chance is against Australia, but their roster ain't no chump either. When you compare Team China players to others, they just look malnourished and undersized. I am going to be optimistic and say China will be eliminated first round, but will qualify for the next WBC by beating Australia. 

FUN NOTES
  • The official roster from the WBC website has an extra player on the page, Yang Yong Yang. He's not on the list in other Chinese sources. 
  • No Bu Tao, Wang Chao or Zhu Da Wei this year - these are notable players from CBL. 
  • Chien Ming Wang, Taiwanese legend, will pitch for Taiwan. I hope he has some gas left in the tank. 
  • Shohei Otani, the hot stuff from Japan, will not pitch for Team Japan because of an ankle injury. Still, China's chance against them is slim...
SOURCES



Well there you have it. The 2017 World Baseball Classic Team China's roster! If anyone has more information about some players, please feel free to tell me. Thanks for reading and have a great night! 

謝謝!再見!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Future Prospect Watch: 趙倫 Jolon


Name: 趙倫 Jolon
Date of Birth: 08-29-2001
Height: 180 cm         Weight: 70 kg
Position: OF/RHP

I'm a bit late, but I recently found out about Jolon, a 15 year old from the MLB China developmental center. He pitched for Wuxi( as you can see above) during the Little League Baseball U18 Asia-Pacific Tournament. There's a recent post of him clocking his fastball at 89 MPH which is pretty good for a 15 year old from China. Other than his fastball, I do not have any scouting report on him. If the media is talking about him, then he's doing something right to stand out! He'll probably add a few miles to his repertoire in a few years. 

There was also another youngster I talked about earlier last year宮海成 Gong Hai Cheng. He's a bit more advanced than Jolon and his fastball reached 90 MPH. I don't have a lot of info about him too, but these two pitchers are definitely on the rise. Hopefully they will join Itchy Xu in a few years in the States.

Here's a small clip of Jolon pitching against Taiwan (He gets wrecked...)


Links:



Thursday, January 26, 2017

2017 China Baseball Updates!

Long time no see! First off, I've been very busy lazy because of work, but there are a lot of China baseball news I must share and update!

Tianjin Lions - 2016 CBL Champions


Let me get some old news out of the way. The Tianjin Lions won their 6th CBL Championship last year by sweeping the Beijing Tigers 3 games to 0. You can check out some of the celebration pictures here: http://www.chinatimes.com/realtimenews/20160910004988-260403

China Baseball League Will Resume in July to December


China Baseball Association recently posted the 2017 baseball tournament schedule. CBL will take place from July through December. December?! Well, that's all the information for now. I will update once more information comes out.

CBL was recently ranked 98th on sports sponsorship value in China. This means baseball in China is somewhat relevant and not just a niche sport. Here is the fill list of the ranking: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4936161109

World Baseball Classic



If you haven't heard it by now China will be playing in Pool B against Japan, Cuba and Australia in the 2017 World Baseball Classic(Also known as the pool of death). Their chances of advancing out of the first round is slim to none. Their chances of qualifying for the next WBC is also slim unless they pull a miracle and maybe MAYBE beat Team Australia.

Raymond Chang has also announced his retirement this month. For those who don't know who he is, Chang is a career minor leaguer who reached Triple A, but never made it to the show. He was the hero for Team China in 2009 where they beat Taiwan and also in 2013 where they beat Brazil. He will play for Team China and then work with MLB China to promote the game there. I thought Chang would've at least been called up to the show for his defense, but that never happened. Best of luck to Chang! Here's his career stats: http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=chang-001ray

As for the Team China's roster, it hasn't been officially released yet. The only player that has agreed to play so far is Joey Wong who announced it on his twitter account. There has been speculations that they are trying to recruit Bruce Chen and Vance Worley to play. Bruce Chen retired in 2015 and Vance Worley was non-tendered by the Orioles last year so they might not be interested in participating. Other eligible players are Kolten Wong and his brother Kean Wong. No words on Xu Gui Yuan as well. Austin Brice, a Marlin's prospect who made it to the show last year, was born in Hong Kong. Maybe Team China should give him a call!

Other News


  • I found this touching documentary about baseball in China called "Dream Chaser" directed by Yu Xiaofan. Players and coaches talk about their love of the game and and what baseball means to them. John McLaren makes an appearance. The video has English subtitles so everyone can enjoy it! Promote and share it!  
  • Veteran Taiwanese pitcher Chien Ming Wang announced that he will retire if he does not get any offers to play in the Majors this year. He will rest for a year and return to Taiwan to coach children. 
  • There will be a new Asian Baseball Championship tournament taking place in Tokyo from November 16-19. The only organizations in it so far are NPB, KBO and CPBL. No word on CBL, 

Anyway, I want to wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year 新年快樂! I hope for the best for China baseball and its development. Keep on fighting and 加油!Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day! 


Monday, September 5, 2016

CBL Championship Series Game 1 and 2 Results, Xu Gui Yuan Update

Here are the boxscores for the first two games of the CBL Championship Series:

9/3/16 - Game 1 - BOXSCORE - PICTURES
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Lions
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
4
7
1
Tigers
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
2
3
9
1

9/4/16 - Game 2 - BOXSCORE - PICTURES
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Lions
0
1
0
1
0
0
2
0
3
7
11
1
Tigers
2
0
2
0
1
1
0
0
0
6
11
1

 The Tianjin Lions takes a 2-0 series lead and will have home field advantage when they resume the series on 9/9. It didn't look like a lot of fans showed up, but still a pretty decent turnout. You can check out more pictures HERE.

Xu Gui Yuan Update

Xu " Itchy" Gui Yuan finished his season last week with the GCL Orioles. Here are his line of stats:

G
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
SB
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
33
81
11
20
3
0
0
9
2
20
2
.247
.271
.284
.555

I can't say he had an impressive season, but he never had consistent playing time because of other position players. He started the year pretty good, batting around .500 in his first few games. In his last ten games, he only went 3-21 with limited playing time. As a fan, I'm disappointed on how the Orioles handled his development and I really hope Itchy can play more games next year. Thomas Neumann from ESPN did an interview with him. Itchy speaks English pretty well and loves Chipotle! Hope you all enjoy this clip! Better luck next year! 加油!

If you are interested in watching The 2016 Women's Baseball World Cup (2016 年第七屆世界盃女子棒球賽) you can watch it streamed on the WBSC YouTube channel.

Bracket and Results - In Chinese
Bracket and Results - In English

Thanks for reading and have a safe day!


Sunday, September 4, 2016

China Finishes 4th in The 11th Asia U18 Baseball Championship

For the full bracket and results of The 11th Asia U18 Baseball Championship, here are links to the Taiwan Baseball Wikipedia and the Baseball Federation of Asia webpage. Japan defeated Taiwan 1-0 for the gold medal. Team China didn't fair well against South Korea and got knocked out no mercy style for 4th place.

Final Ranking:
TEAM RANKING
1st
Japan – GOLD
2nd
Taiwan – SILVER
3rd
South Korea – BRONZE
4th
China
5th
Hong Kong
6th
Philippines
7th
Thailand
8th
Indonesia

Let me list the full run down for Team China:

8/30/16 - PRELIMINARIES
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
China
6
0
1
1
0
0
1
2
X
11
6
0
Thailand
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

0
1
8
  • No problem with Thailand. The game ended early because China led by 10 after 8 innings. 
8/31/16
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Korea
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
3
6
2
Thailand
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
3
0
  • I didn't watch this game, but I heard it was a good one. No errors and didn't get no mercy ruled. The starting pitcher Cao Zheng Qing 曹正清 pitched a complete game without striking out anyone. Really great effort by China! 
9/1/16 
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Philippines
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
5
China
3
0
0
4
0
1
0
0
X
8
9
0
  • No problem with Philippines. I really wish the government gave a damn about baseball in Philippines. They went from great to non-existence because of a little league scandal that happened in the 90s. 
9/2/16 - SEMI-FINALS
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
China
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
Japan
0
0
0
2
3
0
1
2
X
8
11
0
  • This was the first game that China didn't play well at all. They got completely humiliated by getting no hit and striking out a total of 17 times. The problem for China was the fastball speed and breaking ball. They probably haven't had much experience with international competition outside the MLB developmental center. 
9/3/16
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
China
0
0
0
2
0
0
1
0
0
3
7
5
Taiwan
0
0
1
0
0
2
2
1
X
6
5
1
  • This was probably the most exciting game China played in the series. They took the lead in the 4th and tied the game in the 7th. They showed great fielding capabilities, but also lack of communication on the field at the same time. One thing I didn't understand was that manager Wang Wei left the starting pitcher Gong Hai Cheng 宮海成 in the game for 6 2/3 IP when he already threw well over 110 pitches! That really cost China the game. 
9/4/16 - FINALS
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
China
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
X
X
0
3
0
Korea
7
0
2
1
0
4
X
X
X
14
17
0
  • It looks like China ran out of steam and got totally obliterated by Korea. They did have 2 runners on base in the 9th inning, but nothing to show for. That's all folks!
My Take:
  • I thought China played well as a team. Let's not forget that they are under 18 years old and have many years ahead of them to improve. No one was expecting China to beat Japan, Korea or Taiwan. One of their major weaknesses was the breaking ball. They can't seem to lay it off or put solid contact. The more they play against other teams, the more they will improve. Again, I'm no expert, but I been watching baseball for over 20 years to know a bit of something...
  • Pitcher Gong Hai Cheng 宮海成 threw around 131-135 km/h which is around 81-84 mph.
  • Baseball isn't only a sport in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, it's a discipline. They don't only play for fun, they play like it's their last day on Earth! You should check out the training they go through just to become a baseball player. I'm not saying MLB developmental center is doing a bad job, but they would never make kids go through such a vigorous training schedule. 
  • If you saw the tournament, it really brought a smile to my face. Not because I'm creepy, but that it's truly a beautiful game. There was a lot of emotion every time a kid struck out or didn't make a good fielding play. It's also great seeing them having fun and cheering in the dugout. 
  • One last thing. They need better cheerleaders!
More Media:
  • If you want to check out the the replays, ELTA Sports put out videos on YouTube. First link is the match from today against Korean and the second one is from yesterday against Taiwan. 




That's it for now! I will post up the CBL championship game 1 and 2 results soon. Thanks for reading and have a great Labor Day weekend.

- 我愛棒球!