Here’s our first Florida Complex League prospect, that being Taiwanese right-hander Hung-Leng Chang. The Pirates signed Chang in the 2021-2022 off-season as one of their higher paid international signees. Chang signed $500,000, making him the fourth highest paid player of the Pirates’ international class.
Chang made his pro debut last season at the Pirate FCL affiliate last season, so this will be his second stint. He pitched to a 4.76 ERA, but strong 2.50 FIP and 1.32 WHIP across 22.2 innings. Chang had a quality 27.8% strikeout rate, 8.2% walk rate, and didn’t allow a single home run. He also had a 48.3% ground ball rate. Chang had a .355 batting average on balls in play, so his ERA was inflated in a small sample size.
The Taiwaneese righty is currently listed at a wire-thin 6’3”, 160 pounds. But he has an advanced approach to the mound. Chang tops out at 94 MPH with his fastball and works in four other offerings. With such a thin frame, there’s definitely room for added velocity. He’ll likely never be Aroldis Chapman 2.0, but you could definitely see a guy who sits 90-93 MPH and tops out at 95-96.
Of all the prospects we’ll look at today, Chang has the best chance of making it to Bradenton this year. It’s a bit of a surprise the Pirates didn’t start Chang at A-Ball to start the year. He is in his age-21 season, making him just a couple of months younger than Thomas Harrington, Bradenton’s best pitcher so far this year and one of the Bucs’ top pitching prospects. Either way, it will be interesting to see what Chang can do this year and at Bradenton.