Jin-De Jhang vs. Japan

Last weekend, a catching prospect Jin-De Jhang played for Taiwan in the 3-game series against Japan.

Jhang has shown good hitting skills in minors. He is only 20 but did have a solid slash line this season at Short-season A (.277/.338/.413) with 5 home runs.

In this series, Jhang went 1-for-9 with a walk, a hit-by pitch, a sac bunt, and 5 strikeouts. You can watch how Jhang struggled against breaking balls from this video I posted on YouTube.

"In the U.S., pitchers throw many fastballs, so 
the hitters are going to be aggressive. 
Japanese pitchers throw breaking ball more, 
and the hitters need to be patient at the plate." - Jhang


However, Jhang made a good impression. He obviously took strong swing. In game 2 (1:03~), he hit two fly balls to the warning track in left field (325 feet from home to left: same as PNC park). He made strong contact though, so I wouldn't say the results came from "lack of power". Jhang just doesn't have enough game power at this point.

Okay, opposite-field fly balls. But can he pull the ball?

Actually he did. In 2013 season, he didn't hit a lot in the left-center gap (courtesy of mlbfarm.com). 

Last August, Jammers hitting coach, Kory DeHaan talked about Jhang's mental mind-set.

"His main focus is not to be a home run hitter. 
It's to stay in the opposite-field gap and 
that has been where his successes have been, 
when he's hitting the ball in that direction."

I guess the mind-set helped him. Especially when he hit the ball to right. When you are going to pull every single pitch you will be in trouble.

Behind the plate, the Taiwanese Molina showed solid pitch framing skills (3:23~) and strong arm.
He nab two base stealers (one allowed).
Especially, this one was a helluva throw. The pop time was 1.90. Yep, he can throw 1.88-1.90 range.
This is why Jhang threw out 47% of runners this year

International competitions were a good experience for him.

Jhang also played for his country in The 6th East Asian Games back in October.
"The tournament (East Asia Series) increased my self-confidence. I learned how to observe hitters' swing and approach." Jhang told the Taiwanese media after the exhibition series against Japan.

Then, he mentioned Japanese hitters. "They are really tough. They're always trying to destroy the balls on the outside corner. Unlike in the minors, it was difficult to use the ball out of the strike zone (against them)."

Of course, we shouldn't judge him by this 3-game series.
The stocky kid is only 20. Talent is clearly there.

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