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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Chih-Jung Liu is ready to introduce himself

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Chih-Jung Liu
Kelly O’Connor; https://sittingstill.smugmug.com/

We have had a lot of close votes lately when we have looked at our Red Sox top prospect voting. That, of course, makes sense because as we get further into the system the prospects are both worse and less certain. Not only are the prospects down at this tier of the system generally close in overall future value talent level, but they also excel at different things. People have different criteria, and it’s only natural for a lot of different players to get similar support. I say all this, but in the latest round of voting the opposite happened. Chih-Jung Liu ran away with the vote this time around, coming in at number 21 on our list with a whopping 69 (nice) percent of the vote.

This is a little bit of a weird one to write because there is literally no basis on which we can really write about Liu. He is the least experienced prospect in the Red Sox system, even less experienced than other international signings from this class, who were all signed a few months before Liu. Let’s back up a bit first, though. Liu is from Taiwan, and he was a prospect the Red Sox were paying attention to back in his high school days. At that point he was a legitimate two-way prospect who pitched and also played shortstop. Boston was scouting him as a shortstop at that point.

Instead of going pro out of high school, Liu went to college and at that point he took a couple of years off from pitching due to overuse. Fast-forward to this past year, he returned to the mound for the Asian Baseball Championship, where he played alongside fellow Red Sox organization member Tzu-Wei Lin. Liu got up to 98 mph in his return to the mound and was eventually named the MVP. Eventually, the Red Sox signed him to a $750,000 signing bonus in October.

Obviously, we don’t have any stats from last year to look at, but we do have a bit in the way of scouting reports. The soon-to-be-21-year-old (his birthday is on April 7) had been a reliever when he was dominating for Taiwan this past year, but the Red Sox are likely to give him a shot at starting. That means his fastball will probably fall back a bit in velocity, but he should still be able to sit around the 94 mph range. At least, that’s the hope. He pairs the fastball with a slider, a splitter and a curveball. The slider and the splitter are probably the two best secondaries, and if they can develop into their peak potential — far from a sure thing, of course — this is a legitimate starting pitcher profile.

If the 2020 season does happen, I’m really interested as to what they will do with Liu. Age-wise, he’d be appropriate for a Greenville placement, but that would likely be aggressive given his lack of experience as well as his lack of time spent in the United States. That latter part is a key here. At this point I’d guess they’d give him a couple of starts in the GCL with a chance to finish the year in Lowell, but the uncertainty around the world obviously extends here as well.

1. Jeter Downs

2. Triston Casas

3. Bobby Dalbec

4. Bryan Mata

5. Noah Song

6. Gilberto Jimenez

7. Jay Groome

8. Jarren Duran

9. Thad Ward

10. Tanner Houck

11. Matthew Lugo

12. C.J. Chatham

13. Connor Wong

14. Nick Decker

15. Cameron Cannon

16. Marcus Wilson

17. Aldo Ramirez

18. Brayan Bello

19. Ryan Zeferjahn

20. Chris Murphy

21. Chih-Jung Liu

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number two. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...