Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Player to Watch at Each Level in 2022

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 22: A detail of the 2021 MLB Grapefruit league logo during a spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles on March 22, 2021 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 22: A detail of the 2021 MLB Grapefruit league logo during a spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles on March 22, 2021 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Rookie-Level: Pitcher Hung-Leng Cheng

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Hung-Leng Cheng as one of their international free agent signings 10 days ago. The Bucs landed the right-hander for $500,000. Standing at 6’3″, 159 pounds, Cheng has a projectable frame that he’ll eventually grow into as he ages. He is currently 20-years-old, so he has a few years before he’ll be in the majors.

Cheng is already hitting 94 MPH with his fastball. Cheng has a wide array of pitches to go along with his fastball. He has two breaking balls, a slider, and a curveball. He’ll also toss a low-80’s changeup. During 2020, the young righty started to add a cutter to his mix of offerings.

Cheng is considered highly advanced for his age. The Taiwanese pitcher will get to work at Rookie-Ball this season. Cheng has time to fill out his lanky frame. However, once he gains experience in pro ball and adds some muscle through conditioning and training with a professional staff, he could be hitting upwards of 95-97 MPH by the time he is in his age-23-24 seasons. The Pirates had success with their last rookie-ball Taiwanese pitcher in Po-Yu Chen.

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