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Cubs favorites for Taiwanese RHP JenHo Tseng

Cubs favorites for Taiwanese RHP JenHo Tseng

The Cubs aren't done on the international market and it appears they have emerged as the favorites for Taiwanese RHP JenHo Tseng.  He's expected to command at least $1.5M according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

I asked about Tseng and was told this:

" He's good. Mature for his age. Fastball 90-94, slider, plus curveball and a plus change."

It's short, but it's information I trust. For more detail and a different viewpoint, here are some good write-ups at MLB.com and Baseball America.

Tseng is the 29th ranked player according to MLB.com, who writes,

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 5/6 | Slider: 4/4 | Curve: 4/6 | Control: 3/4

The wide-bodied teenager is a known commodity in the international baseball world and has expressed a desire to sign with a Major League organization. At 18, Tseng was the youngest player named to the Chinese Taipei World Baseball Classic roster.

Tseng was also part of the 2012 World Junior Championship and played in the 2012 Asian Baseball Championship for the national team for Chinese Taipei, so he is comfortable on a big stage. He's known for his upright, quick delivery and a fastball that has reached 95 mph.

Tseng also has a feel for his secondary pitches, primarily his curveball and slider, and is confident on the mound. The right-hander works comfortably with a fastball in the low-90s, but scouts would like to see him challenge more hitters with the pitch. Scouts like his maturity, aggressiveness, and his poise. He has a large frame which bodes well for his durability.

Ben Badler of Baseball America ranks him 23rd and writes,

Tseng simply hasn’t been as electric this year. At his best last year, he pitched at 89-92 mph and touched 95, and at times earned plus grades for his curveball and changeup, with some scouts grading the changeup as a potential plus-plus pitch. He showed the ability to throw his curve for strikes consistently with tight spin and mixed in an average slider. At the WBC, his fastball parked in the high 80s, his breaking ball was loose and his control was erratic. Scouts who have watched him since then have said his stuff and command are still down. Some have expressed concern about Tseng’s durability due to his frame and mechanics, and others think his usage could be the culprit and that his stuff could bounce back after he signs.

The Cubs appear to be blowing right past any IFA limits and while they'd probably like to recoup pool money if possible, it doesnt seem to be a priority because the Cubs like this class better than next year's.

As for Tseng, it's interesting that the velo is down but that sometimes happens with pitchers from the Pacific Rim, who tend to take on a bigger workload than their U.S. counterparts.  But recent signings like Wei-Yin Chen and Hyun-Jin Ryu show that they can bounce back strong.  I imagine that's even more the case with a younger pitcher like Tseng.

There's also an industry rumor that Tseng may have already signed and if so, that may bode well for the Cubs, who have picked up a lot of momentum lately as late players for his services.

Filed under: International players

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  • A commenter on another blog mentioned the possible strategy of the FO going after the IFA this year with next years penalties being damned. This would allow them to either

    A.) spread their large pool next year across many, many prospects or B.) Use those large slots as trade pieces.

    After seeing how hard it was to acquire those slots this year I imagine they'd be fairly valuable on the market next year.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    Didn't mean to say 'allow' them to. They'd HAVE to spread their pool out because of the restrictions put on them by going over this year.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    Yes, we actually wrote about this last Thursday,

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/07/with-cubs-set-to-finalize-jimenez-dealm-are-they-just-ignoring-ifa-spending-limits-if-so-what-are-the-implications/

    It appears the Cubs like this class much better than next year's, especially at the top end. There's rumors that the Cubs are also going after one or both of the top 5 guys available (3B Luis Encarnacion and OF Leonardo Molina). This could get huge.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I actually read that article too. I think I kind of purged it from my memory since most of it was over my head at the time.

    Following this site daily has allowed me to understand the process fairly so re-reading it is a lot less...straining haha. As always you guys are right on top of everything.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    fairly well*

  • In reply to Elden14:

    I think there may be a flaw in that blog's logic.

    1). If the Cubs think this years IFA class is better than next years, fine, but do we really think the lowest 'rated' players we sign this year are going to better than the top 'rated' players from next year? I hope so, because we can't go after next years. Hopefully the next Miguel Cabrera doesn't emerge between now and then.

    2). If next years IFA class is so bad, what value will the slot money really have? Who's going to trade anything worthwhile to get pool money to sign a 'meh' 16 year old.?

  • In reply to djriz:

    Good point on number 2. I guess you chalk that up to the Cubs presence in those regions and trusting your scouting.

    Just because the Cubs are 'meh' on most prospects doesn't mean other teams are. You'll always have teams who finished with low caps and hopefully one of them think they've found the next Sano/Puig and make a move for him, but need mo' monies.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    Yeah, teams see players differently, so it is possible the pool money could have some value. I hope so. I'm just not sure limiting yourself next year is worth some of the talent we got this year. But, if you are going to go over, then sign ALL the guys you can.

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    In reply to Elden14:

    It doesn't even mean the Cubs are down on next year's IFA-eligible players. It simply means that they are much more fond of this year's kids and would rather over spend this year than pay those guys at market price or above next year. Don't take the dismissal to mean that next year is simply a garbage dump. It just means this year's pool suits their evaluators' wants/needs much better. Those slots/picks/pool money will have plenty of value. But if you can buy gold cheaper this year than next, you empty the cupboards on the pure spec of it and take your chances.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Agreed. I also heard that the penalties on overspending might rise substantially next year, which would mean A) that it's cheaper for the Cubs to splurge this year, and B) their slot money should increase in value next year as other teams will want to stay away from the penalties even more so. I think the strategy is pretty clever overall.

  • can someone explain what the exact penalties are for going over the IFA cap? thanks

  • In reply to Csanad:

    I don't have them on hand, but they're percentage based.

    Right now we're in the realm of "Our overages get taxed 75-100% and we can't sign anyone over 250k-500k next year".

    We're going towards the higher end of both those spectrum with more signings coming in.

  • In reply to Csanad:

    • 0-5 percent over pool: 75 percent tax on the pool overage.
    • 5-10 percent over pool: 75 percent tax on the pool overage. Team won’t be allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the 2014-15 signing period.
    • 10-15 percent over pool: 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Team won’t be allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the 2014-15 signing period.
    • 15 percent or more over pool: 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Team won’t be allowed to sign a player for more than $250,000 during the 2014-15 signing period.

    Source: http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/penalties-for-exceeding-pools-depend-on-international-draft/

  • fb_avatar

    I mentioned this before, but it's beginning to look more like this is the next "loophole" to exploit. If that is the case, John and others, do you think MLB will move fast to try and close it or is that prohibited by the latest labor agreement?

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I think they will do what they can, but they may be stuck with this new CBA for the duration.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Not to mention the luxury tax teams like the Yankees were facing but still kept spending. It is a way more even things out, just not perfect.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Of course, there is no proof that this strategy works and won't be for some time. But if it is indeed something Theo & Jed are trying to do, seems like a great plan to me.

  • Can we still trade IFA money if we are penalized? Maybe that's the strategy for next year is to trade the money for prospects instead of signing them. What concerns me about the current spending spree is that we are looking to have another nice spending limit next year the way this season is going. You would hate to see that go to waste.

  • Penalties With 2014 International Draft
    • 0-5 percent over pool: 75 percent tax on the pool overage.
    • 5-10 percent over pool: 75 percent tax on the pool overage. Team loses first-round pick in the 2014 international draft.
    • 10-15 percent over pool: 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Team loses first-round and second-round pick in the 2014 international draft.
    • 15 percent or more over pool: 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Team loses first-round picks in both the 2014 and 2015 international drafts.

    Penalties With No International Draft
    • 0-5 percent over pool: 75 percent tax on the pool overage.
    • 5-10 percent over pool: 75 percent tax on the pool overage. Team won’t be allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the 2014-15 signing period.
    • 10-15 percent over pool: 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Team won’t be allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the 2014-15 signing period.
    • 15 percent or more over pool: 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Team won’t be allowed to sign a player for more than $250,000 during the 2014-15 signing period.

  • fb_avatar

    Tennessee Smokies ‏@smokiesbaseball 9m

    Congrats to #Smokies Matt Szczur, Arismendy Alcantara, Christian Villanueva & Kyle Hendricks named starters for the SL All-Star Game

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Sweet! I'm planning on going to the SL AS Game!

  • Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 38s
    in big switch, #cubs now talking about signing Matt Garza to long-term deal. http://cbsprt.co/18IN1sL

    Um, what? I'm assuming this is some level of posturing....

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    With that news......as I mention in earlier comments.......The Cubs will get Arizona top 4 pitching prospects when they trade Jeff Samardzija at the trade dead line.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Everything this time of year could be posturing.
    But is would surprise me if it did occur. I wonder what Theo and co. consider "long-term."

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    I've maintained he is more valuable to sign than trade in this market and with the fact that he is a rental.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Perhaps they don't think teams are willing to give up market value for him. Teams are coveting their minor talent more so now than ever.

    So it could be posturing or a legit option if it provides more value than the potential return they're being offered from rival execs.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Sounds just fine to me. Garza, Wood, Samardzjia, and Jackson form a pretty damn good rotation. All still in prime years. Perhaps not a true ace there, but definitely good enough. Especially if they can catch lightning in a bottle with Vizcaino, Arrieta, or even Cabrera, Hendricks or one of the college arms they drafted. Suddenly the starting rotation is looking pretty deep (and I didn't even mention Villanueva).

    To me that is the better way to go UNLESS you really do get a stud who is at least within a year or two of the majors. That allows you to stabilize the rotation and focus on improving the bullpen and the lineup. The lineup (IMO) is closer to getting impact help from the minors and the bullpen is much easier to address in free agency or via trade. Plus signing Garza allows you ALOT more freedom to move Cabrera, Arrieta, and/or Vizcaino to the bullpen where their power stuff should play very well.

    If its me, I trade Gregg for another prospect or two, sign Garza and then stand pat. If they accomplish that, its turned into a pretty damn good season in terms of talent accumulation and suddenly 2014 looks like a year when perhaps the Cubs could make some noise especially if Baez, Lake, Bryant (assuming he signs), Soler, and Alcantara continue to develop over the next year or so. Plus, the system will be plenty deep enough to trade for an impact player without even touching those guys at the upper levels.

  • In reply to J Bounds:

    This.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I never knew Heyman was a $2 hooker ... but given the way Boras and now the Cubs are using him, I guess it is now a reasonable assumption to make.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Does this put the kibosh on the "guaranteed" Garza trade by 7:00 tonight?

  • As long as does not cost them a draft pick go for it now

  • fb_avatar

    In big switch, Cubs are now considering signing Garza long-term

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/jon-heyman/22684616/in-big-switch-cubs-are-now-considering-signing-garza-longterm

  • Could be that the they have been extremely underwhelmed with the offers that they are getting for Garza, and it's obvious that he is worth more than a comp pick. This FO is going to try to get the most out of every player and keeping Garza as a veteran building block could pay off. Seems like a great clubhouse guy, and his contract is going to be similar to Sharks, and Garza is only one year older. Shark may have a less mileage on his arm, but he doesn't have as good of a track record as Garza. Sharks haul is going to be a heck of a lot better than Garza's too.

  • If Shark will get us better prospects go for it.

  • Ok kinda getting into this posting thing so figured I would pop another one out here. First of all I'm all for signing Garza to an extension this year. This especially applies if the offers aren't overwhelming. Second I also wouldn't trade shark until next year at the earliest. I would honestly say that keeping Shark gives us the best shot at a top of the line starter like price next year at the deadline. That is if we trade him at all. Shark Garza and Woods would give us a good top three next year with imo Jackson as a #5, maybe Arrietta as a number 4 thats a pretty good rotation. On another note I absolutely love the strategy the FO has come up with in regards to international guys. They can litterally get more in one year by going way over than in two or even three years by staying within cap. So unless there is just that one guy they have to have why not. Then just pick up other teams Roni Torreyes with there slot money next year. Remember were building waves here and this just brings in more prospects highly rated or orginizational guys. We can also use what little ifa money we can spend on lesser known prospects like Castro once was. Stay the course Theo and in a few years we maybe looking at dynasty status.

  • I never liked the idea of not re-signing Garza myself. High end starters are hard to come by and unless we were blown away by the quality of prospects coming back, I agree with re-signing him (and Shark). I also think this season is an aberation for Jackson and over the course of his contract he will perform to this usual standards. So having a Big 4 going forward of Garza, Shark, Wood & Jackson sounds pretty good to me. the trick will be adding a bat or two to the lineup as our key prospects are stil a few years away. Hope we can sign Bryant to but if not, he is likely a greedy Asshat and not the kind of guy we would want to rebuild around and likely would leave as a free agent first chance he was eligible.

  • Wouldn't hurt my feelings if T& J decide to hold on to Garza, I'd absolutely make any takers on Matt just floor me to let him go, don't want to end up taking a step back just because there may be some "we got to trade the guy" thinking going on, not that there is.

  • I don't think Garza is interested in a "team friendly" contract. I think he wants to maximize this opportunity. So extending Garza is no different from signing and overpaying a free agent.

    At some point, the Cubs might sign an expensive free agent if they see that signing as putting them over the top, but that is clearly not the case here.

    The only way the Cubs get a team friendly deal is if, god forbid, Garza gets hurt enough to screw up his prospects as a free agent.

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