On Wednesday, October 23rd, reports surfaced that the Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with 20 year old, right-handed pitching prospect, Chih-Jung Liu. Liu hails from Taiwan, and the agreement if for a total Value of $750k
The Red Sox signed Liu as a pitcher, where his pure stuff has seen a major uptick over the course of the last calendar year. His fastball reportedly sits in the 94-96 mph range, and he has topped out at 98 mph. Liu was a two-way player in Taiwan, and recently was named the MVP of the 2019 Asian Baseball Championship. He teamed with current Red Sox infielder, Tzu-Wei Lin, to lead Taiwan to the title, and in doing so qualified Taiwan for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The Red Sox hope that Liu can follow in the footsteps of recent Asian imports, Shohei Othani (Japan), Hyun-ji Ryu (South Korea), and Kenta Maeda (Japan) , and become an All-Star caliber pitcher. With his relatively young age (20), and the adjustment to baseball in the United States, Liu likely won’t see MLB action until 2022 at the earliest.
It will be interesting to see where he slots in on the Red Sox organization pitching rankings. With no homegrown starting pitchers in the current rotation, the franchise is in desperate need of quality minor league talent to offset the high salaries paid to starting pitchers on the free agent market. Liu will join Bryan Mata, former first round picks Tanner Houck, and Jay Groome, as well as Thad Ward and 2019 draftee, Noah Song in a group of starting pitching prospects that have climbed the organizational prospect rankings over the past year.
Photo Credit: Boston.com