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