CARDINALS ANNOUNCE HISTORICAL PLAYER SIGNING; PITCHER CHEN-WEI LIN IS TEAM’S FIRST PLAYER SIGNED OUT OF TAIWAN
ST. LOUIS, MO., July 3, 2023 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced a historical international player signing today when the team signed amateur right-handed pitcher Chen-Wei Lin, the franchise’s first player ever signed out of Taiwan. (first name is pronounced Zhen-Way).
Lin, 21, is from Tainan City, Taiwan and played college baseball at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, Taiwan before debuting in the United States collegiate summer leagues last year.
“We are excited to welcome Chen-Wei Lin to the St. Louis Cardinals organization as the first player the team has ever signed out of Taiwan,” said Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “The Cardinals are continually scouting all regions of the globe for talented individuals that can help make our organization better. Chen-Wei is someone we feel has intriguing potential with the ability to develop into a future big leaguer.”
Lin, who stands an impressive 6 feet, 7 inches, will soon report to the Cardinals Jupiter, Fla. complex to begin his professional career.
“Chen-Wei possesses an explosive fastball to go along with his projectable physical attributes and impressive athleticism,” stated Cardinals’ Special Assistant to the G.M./Player Procurement Matt Slater. “He is also the type of individual whose overall makeup showed well in our evaluations.”
Lin pitched in the MLB Draft League this year, making four starts for the Frederick (Md.) Keys in the collegiate summer league, posting a 3.24 ERA over 16.2 innings pitched. He pitched in nine games for the Kenosha (Wisc.) Kingfish last summer in the Northwoods collegiate league at the age of 20.
Lin represented Taiwan at the U-23 Baseball World Cup in both 2022 and 2021, and he participated as an invited college player with the 2023 Taiwanese WBC team in their preparation camp.
Chen-Wei is the nephew of Hong-Chih Kuo who pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers for seven seasons from 2005-11, compiling a 3.73 ERA in 218 career appearances after signing as an international free agent with them in 1999.
Chen-Wei is represented by Alan Chang of Flight International in coordination with the MVP Sports group.
— STL —
While there is no official word on his bonus, it’s being reported that he’ll received $500,000. Lin has been used as both a start and reliever in the Northwoods League; he did both last season, while has exclusively a starter.
He’s got a 4-seam (97 MPH) and 2-seam fastball (91 MPH), along with a slider (80 MPH) according to CPBL Stats Twitter; he’s also added a little bit to the 4-seam, now touching 99 MPH. This tweet shows the 3 pitches:
They’ve also said he’s got a loopy curve that sits below 70 MPH and a changeup and splitter. No reports on his tunneling.
If there is one concern, it’s about his command; he’s issued 34 walks and 8 HBPs in 32.1 innings. It’s something that can be corrected. His strikeout numbers are a little low for that velocity, but again that’s something that will come with time. He’s got a lot of potential and has taken steps to improve in the Northwoods League between last season and now. He could also add velocity as his body fills out.
It’s a solid signing; the Cardinals have struggled to produce MLB quality starters from the system and adding guys like Lin increase the chances that a someone could break through. Like all amateur signings, it’s risky because the odds are against these guys putting everything together; Lin is more like a college player at this point, both physically and competition-wise, so he’s got a leg up on a lot of the international signings (who are still teenagers when they sign).