Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Tsung-Che Cheng Has Big First Game in the WBC
In Wednesday's World Baseball Classic action Pirate infield prospect Tsung-Che Cheng had a big game for Chinese Taipei
Games are officially underway for the World Baseball Classic. This year's WBC will continue through March 21st, wrapping up shortly before the MLB season's Opening Day. Multiple players from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization will be playing in the WBC.
An underrated Pirate prospect who is playing in the WBC is infielder Tsung-Che Cheng. The 21-year-old Cheng is one of the most overlooked and underrated prospects in the Pirate farm system. After turning heads in the minor leagues last season, Cheng now looked primed to turn heads in the WBC.
Playing for Chinese Taipei, Cheng started at second base on Wednesday. Cheng also played some shortstop for the Chinese Taipei team in the game. The left-handed hitter went 3-for-5 in the 12-5 Chinese Taipei loss. He drove in a run, scored a run, and hit a triple.
Cheng was not just collecting hits for Chinese Taipei, he was hitting the ball with authority. The exit velcoities on his base hits were 90.6 MPH, 102.8 MPH, and 94.0 MPH. Even on his outs, Cheng put the ball in play with exit velocities of 94.6 MPH and 104.4 MPH.
Cheng spent the 2022 season with the Low-A Bradenton Marauders. At just the age of 20, Cheng hit for a .270/.376/.418 slash line to go with a 129 wRC+ in 458 plate appearances across 104 games played.
With the Marauders he posted a very strong 13.8% walk rate while stirking out at just a 20.7% clip. He hit 6 home runs, 25 doubles, 7 triples, and flashed his plus athleticism and speed with 33 stolen bases.
Following Cheng throughout the rest of the WBC will be intriguing for Pirate fans. He is also a prospect to keep an eye on when the 2023 season begins. Cheng should begin the season with High-A Greensboro. If he could hit his way to Double-A Altoona at just age 21, he could start to gain some well deserved recognition as a prospect.