Red Sox Sign Switch-Hitting 2-Way Player
On October 23, the Boston Red Sox have reportedly signed Culture University’s 劉致榮 (Liu Chih-Jung) as an international free agent. The signing bonus for the 20-year-old switch-hitting two-way player is rumoured to be $700,000 to $1,000,000 USD at this stage. (Update: MLB announced it is $750,000 USD)
- UDN reported the signing bonus is close to one million USD.
- ETtoday reported it is between $700,000 to $750,000 USD.
- Apple Daily reported it is above $725,000 USD.
- Liberty Sports reported at least $750,000 USD.
Quick Profile of Liu Chih-Jung
- DOB: April 7, 1999
- Height/Weight: 183cm, 84kg
- Right-Handed Pitcher / Switch Hitting (2B/SS)
- Fastball sat at 150-155kph (93-96mph), topped out 158kph (98mph)
- Changeup, slider around 130-135 (80-83mph)
Liu Chih-Jung Indirectly Confirmed the Signing
Although Liu Chih-Jung’s agency declined to comments on the signing, Liu, on the other hands, indirectly confirmed the Red Sox signing when speaking with the Taiwanese media.
“I’m glad I have the opportunity to play professional baseball overseas,” said Liu Chih-Jung. “There is also Lin Tzu-Wei in the organisation, he will look after me.”
Liu is currently training with the Taiwanese National Team in preparation for the upcoming WBSC’s Premier12 Tournament. The hard-throwing right-hander was the backup replacement to replaced C.C. Lee who withdrawal from the tournament.
Liu’s Velocity Touches 158kph (98mph)
The 20-year-old Liu Chih-Jung found himself in the media spotlight in September when he was clocked throwing 158kph (98mph) during a university tournament. Apart from his fastball, Liu also displayed his ability to hit and crushed several home runs while hitting from both sides.
Liu took almost two years off from pitching after high school due to injuries. During those times, he mainly played as a middle infielder and did not return to the mound again until 2019.
On October 20, Liu Chih-Jung tossed 2.1 scoreless innings with five strikeouts against Japan in the 2019 Asian Baseball Championship. The fastest pitch he threw in that outing was 158kph (98mph). However, several scouts in attendance clocked him at 163kph (101mph).
163kph (101mph)!! Team Taiwan's switch-hitting 2-way player 劉致榮 (Liu Chih-Jung) was clocked between 160-163kph (100-101mph) last night against Japan in the Asian Baseball Championship. Liu pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and struck out 5 in the gold medal game. 🧙♂️🔥 https://t.co/34E5BkkE5x pic.twitter.com/p7n4ekfins
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) October 20, 2019
The Boston Globe is reporting a $750,000 signing bonus. Presumably, the Red Sox will try to develop him as a pitcher, since you can’t teach 98 mph. Hopefully, he will get some opportunities to hit in the minor leagues. Baseball can always use more two-way players.
Yep, exactly that. Throwing hard is something that can’t be taught. Hopefully the Red Sox organisation will take good care of him.
A bit sad another young amateur got poached by overseas league. I wish the league here can figure out a way to retain them, even just for a years. It will do a lot more good for Taiwan baseball in long term.