Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Draft Prospect: Conner Wong

(Vype website)

Connor Wong: Wong Sun-Han
DOB: 05/19/1996 (20 years old)
Height: 6'0"   Weight: 180 lbs
Position: C/INF
Hometown: Pearland, Texas

I thought it would be nice to talk about Mr. Conner Wong. First off, I don't know if he's full Chinese or a mix (looks mixed to me), but his last name is Wong, so..he's one of us! And second, he's an amazing talent who will most likely be drafted in the first couple of rounds in the 2017 MLB amateur draft. I'm no scout, but Conner is doing pretty great this year for the University of Houston Cougars baseball team. He is also ranked 81 in Baseball America's top 100 MLB draft prospects. If you want to know more about him, I found some videos and links:





I hope nothing but the best for Conner. My prediction: He will be drafted in the 2nd round. 

Many people are asking about the 2017 CBL schedule, but they haven't released any information yet. I will update as soon as there's information! Have a great night!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

World Baseball Classic Follow Up

Sorry for the late post, I was in Asia for 2 weeks! I had a chance to experience Koshien and it was amazing!


Anyway, lets talk about Team China in WBC...

  • March 8, 2017 - China 0, Cuba 6 - BOXSCORE
  • March 9, 2017 - Australia 11, China 0 - BOXSCORE
  • March 10, 2017 - China 1, Japan 7 - BOXSCORE
Despite having the strongest lineup in team history, Team China had the weakest team in the whole tournament and like everyone predicted, they got served. Not only did they lose all three games, they lost a spot in the next WBC in 2021. They need to win in the qualifying rounds in 2020 to get back in the main tournament. 

I'm not going to dwell over it. This year's WBC was awesome and congratulations to AMERICA for winning the 4th edition! They didn't even have a parade for it?! Oh come on...

Few notes:

  • China didn't get manhandled by Cuba and Japan. They got pummeled by Australia! Oh boy was I wrong about my predictions. Australia has a really strong team. They played a tight game with Cuba and almost advanced to the second round. Kudos to Australia!
  • If you watched every game, Team China's infield was pretty slick. SS Joey Wong made a couple of great defensive plays and 2B Xiao Lei Du was also pretty nifty. Unfortunately, the outfielders had the most problem during the tournament. They misjudged and mishandled a lot of balls which ultimately cost the team. 
  • The only person that drove in a run for China was none other than Ray Chang
  • Wei Qiang Meng who is a catcher, pitched 4 innings against Japan and only gave up 2 unearned runs. You can check out his video HERE.
  • Overall, I thought the tournament was entertaining, but with a lot of flaws. I am not a fan of the extra inning rules. That completely killed momentum for some of the games. 
  • And lastly, WBC is here to stay whether you're a fan or not. IT MATTERS! #TEAMWBC
Here are few clips of Itchy Xu playing in the WBC. I thought he did a pretty good job and is definitely a patient hitter: 




Also, if you are intrigued about Gong Hai Cheng, the 18 year old from the MLB China development academy, he pitched 1/3 of an inning against Japan. His fastball was around 84-87 MPH. Here's a clip of him:


Other News:

Here's a clip of Chris Park giving a conference about MLB development in China and partnering with LeSports:

Well...there you have it! What are your thoughts about WBC and what can be improved? There's still a big mountain to climb for China, but they will reach the top one day! Thanks for reading and have a great night!

Never Give Up - John Cena

 

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!