Pittsburgh Pirates: Minor Leaguers Who Could Get Promoted Next

Which Pirate prospects could be promoted to the next level soon?

Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Matt Gorski (76) poses for photos
Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Matt Gorski (76) poses for photos / Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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Hung-Leng Chang

Hung-Leng Chang is the only short-season player we’ll examine today. The Pirates signed Chang out of Taiwan in the 2021-2022 offseason. Chang was one of their more expensive signings, inking a signing bonus of $750,000.

It’s a surprise he didn’t start 2023 at Bradenton, given his age and how well he performed last season at the Florida Complex League, but now he’s making it hard for the Pirates to keep him there any longer.

Last season, Chang had a 4.76 ERA and 1.32 WHIP but an outstanding 2.50 FIP. Chang was burned by bad batted ball luck, with a .355 batting average on balls in play. Chang struck out 27.8% of his opponents while managing a solid 8.2% walk rate. His 48.3% ground ball rate helped him allow zero home runs in 22.2 innings.

Chang has pitched eight innings, allowing three earned runs. But he’s struck out nine more batters while only allowing one free pass. It’s now been 32.2 straight innings of not allowing a home run for Chang. He’s carrying roughly the same ground ball rate at 47.6%, but once again, bad batted ball luck has hurt him with a .381 BAbip (keep in mind this is less than ten innings).

Chang is 21 and only throws around 90-92 MPH and topping out at 94. However, the Pirates loved his advanced feel for pitching. He also has some room for growth and added velocity. Chang checks in at 6’3”, 160 pounds. Some added muscle could help him gain an extra tick or two of velocity.

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