Lin Sheng-En Signs With Cincinnati Reds
After receiving offers from more than ten overseas teams from MLB and NPB, we finally know where Lin Sheng-En is heading next to begin his professional career.
On June 3, OurSports TV reported that the Cincinnati Reds have signed 17-year-old two-way player 林盛恩 (Lin Sheng-En) as an international free agent with a signing bonus of around 1.2 million USD with an additional 100,000 USD as tuition allowance.
An official signing press conference has been scheduled on June 6 at the Marriott Hotel in Taipei. Trey Hendricks, the Reds’ Director of International Scouting will be in Taiwan to attend the ceremony.
Lin Sheng-En’s Signing Press Conference (June 6 Update)
The signing press conference began with a welcoming video message by the Reds’ manager David Bell.
“Hello Sheng-En, I heard a lot about you from our international scout, and I am looking forward to welcoming you to our team and to our Reds family,” said Bell.
During the press conference, Lin Sheng-En was asked by the media why he chose MLB over NPB, despite receiving a higher offer ($1.4 million) from the NPB team.
“I ultimately chose the Cincinnati Reds because I feel the MLB style of play suits me better, which is why I decided to begin my professional career there. My swing and my plate approach are more in line with the American style,” said Lin Sheng-En. “I am still very grateful to all the Japanese teams for coming to Taiwan to watch my games.”
“If I had a son, I would want him [Lin Sheng-En] to be my son,” said the Reds’ area scout Jamey Storvick, who has been tracking Lin Sheng-En since junior high school. “I feel very fortunate to be able to sign Lin.”
Pitching or Hitting? Lin’s Future as 2-Way Player?
So, will Lin Sheng-En be a two-way player in the Reds system? Questions were asked regarding the team’s future development plan for Lin.
The Reds’ international scout Jamey Storvick revealed that the Reds might let Lin Sheng-En becomes a two-way player. But in his first year, the team will provide him with more plate appearances and assign him to play in the middle infield. The team will assess Lin Sheng-En’s pitching potential in his second year.
“The Reds organisation have confidence in his abilities to play in the middle infield (2B/SS) and maybe even in the centre field,” the Reds’ scout to Liberty Sports. “We hope he can achieve a balance between his pitching and hitting abilities. If Lin Sheng-En becomes a true two-way player, he may serve as a relief pitcher.”
As for what Lin Sheng-En himself think about it? He told the media that he hopes he can be a two-way player in MLB and set a personal goal to make it to the Major League within five years.
Lin Sheng-En’s Pitching Repertoire
Lin Sheng-En, the hard-throwing righty, has an overpowering fastball that topped at 155 kph (96.4 mph). Breaking pitch-wise, he throws a curve, slider and changeup. According to an unnamed MLB scout, the slider is his most polished off-speed pitch.
17-year-old 林盛恩 (Lin Sheng-En) reached 154 kph (95.7 mph) today and attracted scouts from more than 10 pro teams. #TWHSBaseball— CPBL STATS – ♥️ #95, Mina (@GOCPBL) May 25, 2023
⏺️ MLB (Pirates, Reds, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Giants, Red Sox, Mariners, Yankees)
⏺️ NPB (Giants, Swallows)
⏺️ KBO (Heroes)
⏺️ CPBL (All 6 Teams) pic.twitter.com/dIGH81bXV4
Brief Back Story on Lin Sheng-En
At a young age, Lin Sheng-En is already used to the media spotlight. He attracted mainstream media attention in 2020 when he was clocked throwing 147 kph (91.4 mph) as a 14-year-old. Over the years, Lin’s velocity continued to go up. In December 2021, Lin Sheng-En reached 154 kph (95.7 mph) at a high school tournament.
In 2022, Lin Sheng-En represented Taiwan in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, where he played as a two-way player. As an outfielder, he slashed .375/.455/.375 over four games against Korea, USA, Australia and Panama.
As a pitcher, he started two games against USA and Japan and made one relief appearance against Italy. In the span of three games, he posted a 1.97 ERA and struck seven over 10.2 innings.
Fast forward to April 2023, Lin Sheng-En broke his personal fastball velocity record with a 155 kph (96.4 mph) fastball. In May, at the prestigious E.SUN Cup, Lin attracted scouts from MLB, NPB, KBO and the CPBL. Lin did not disappoint and struck out four in two scoreless innings of relief appearance.
MLB, NPB Bidding Wars for Lin Sheng-En
Leading up to the signing with the Reds, ETtoday reported that a team from the NPB’s Central League offered Lin a contract of around 1.4 million USD. But according to baseball columnist Wang Yi-Hsuan, despite the offer from Japan being way better than the Reds, Lin personally prefers to go to the MLB system.
Reds’ Taiwanese Players
With the Cincinnati Reds signing Lin Sheng-En, he will be the fourth player signed by the Reds sign out of Taiwan as an international free agent. Lin will also becomes the sixth Taiwanese player to play for the Reds system.
- Kuo Yen-Wen (2008-10), $120,000 – Reached High-A
- Chiu Tzu-Kai (2007-11), $150,000 – Reached High-A
- Chi Po-Cheng (2009-11), $120,000 – Reached Rookie
- Lin Sheng-En (2023), $1,200,000