Member News

July 21, 2020

Former MLB player Wang becomes No. 1 pick in Taiwan baseball draft

Taipei, July 20 (CNA) Former major league pitcher Wang Wei-chung (王維中) who most recently pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019, was the No. 1 overall pick in Taiwan's annual professional baseball draft on Monday.

The 28-year-old left-hander was selected by the Wei Chuan Dragons, which had the first pick as an expansion franchise that will not compete in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) until the 2021 season.

It currently has a team competing in the CPBL minor league.

The selection of Wang did not come as a surprise after he announced his intention to take part in the draft earlier this month.

The Taitung-born Wang, the first southpaw pitcher to be drafted No. 1 in league history, made his MLB debut for the Milwaukee Brewers on April 14, 2014 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

He had played four seasons in the major leagues, racking up a 3-0 record with an ERA of 6.52 in 49.2 innings, and one season in the South Korean professional league in 2018.

Wang did not personally attend the draft, but he wrote on his Facebook page that he was honored to be the No.1 pick in the annual draft.

It is not known, however, if Wang will sign with the Dragons or if the Dragons will try to sign Wang and trade him for younger prospects.

The CPBL draft comes at the halfway point of the league's season, in part to give teams who need to bolster their rosters for the second half a chance to do so.

The draft order, however, is in inverse order of the teams' full-season records the previous year.

Picking second, the Tainan-based Uni Lions selected infielder Lin Tzu-hao (林子豪), who just recently graduated from high school.

In the third slot, the New Taipei-based Fubon Guardians, who finished last in the first half of the 2020 season, desperately needed pitching, but instead chose former minor leaguer catcher Jhang Jin-de (張進德).

Jhang most recently played for Richmond Flying Squirrels in 2019, a Double-A minor-league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

The fourth overall pick was college freshman hurler Yu Chien (余謙), who was drafted by the Taichung-based CTBC Brothers, the winner of the CPBL's first half this year.

The Taoyuan-based Rakuten Monkeys picked infielder Ma Chieh-sen (馬傑森), an 18-year-old high school graduate, and the Dragons got a bonus pick at the end of the first round as a newcomer and chose Liao Jen-lei (廖任磊), who pitched for the Saitama Seibu Lions in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

Photo: Wang Wei-chung (王維中)