Pirates Sign Yao-Hsun Yang; Invite Him to Spring Training

Yao-Hsun Yang

Yao-Hsun Yang

The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with 31-year-old left-handed pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang from Taiwan.  The Pirates were one of at least five teams that attended a tryout for the veteran lefty in January. It is a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Yang is currently in camp at Pirate City, according to Tim Williams, although the deal has not yet been announced by the team.

Yang competed in the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and 2013 for Chinese Taipei. He pitched four times during the 2013 WBC, giving up five runs on five hits(two homers) and three walks, with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings. One of the homers came off the bat of Stefan Welch, who spent part of 2013 with the Altoona Curve. The other damage came during Cuba’s 14-0 route of the Taipei team. He faced a team of Major League All-Stars in late 2011, but that did not go so grand.

Yang pitched well for the Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League in 2012, going 2-3, 1.48 in 42.2 innings, with 45 strikeouts and an 0.98 WHIP. He missed most of last year with an injury to his pitching arm and a thigh strain that occurred in late July. He pitched in the WBC in March, then returned to Japan and allowed three runs in 1.1 innings during his first pre-season game back. Yang was released by his team in October, allowing him to hold tryouts and sign to play in the United States.

He has thrown as hard as 96 MPH in the past, but now hits low-90’s, mixing it with a slider, curve and change-up according to his 2012 pitch charts. Imokemp at U Gotta Believe was the first to report the possibility of him signing with the Pirates last week. A video of him from the 2012 season can be seen below.

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.martin.9003 Bob Martin

    just going by his numbers this guy stinks. He has no chance at making the team and should be in the first round of cuts. Wake me up when they actually aquire a real Major league player.

    • buster09

      Great attitude Bob. Why do you even bother to look ?

    • BigB2323

      people like you just make my day.

    • stickyweb

      And just going by the numbers, AJ sucked when the Pirates got him. Luckily the Bucs don’t make their decisions based on you going by the numbers.

      I understand a guy that probably won’t make the 25 man out of ST might not get your juices flowing, though he could spend some time in AAA and help out in the MLB bullpen at some point.

      What I don’t understand is why someone so indifferent to this signing would take the time to type 3 sentences telling us how indifferent he is.

    • https://profiles.google.com/113824087346904673399 NHPirateFan

      Are you kidding? The guy throws 145. Suck it, Chapman!
      Seriously, I don’t see the harm in an experienced loogy that hits 90 being in Indy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

    A big Yawn for Yang.

    • https://profiles.google.com/116269181038744632419 Shawn Inlow

      Yes, Lee, but you once again have an interesting Asian battery: Yang / Jhang.

      That has to make you feel better.


      • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

        Wabbit….GREAT point!!!!

        Would’ve still loved to have Suk Min Yoon. That we didn’t ‘Suk’d’.

        Yang/Jhang in Altoona would be awesome (unless you were there at the same time).

        :) :) :)

  • Jeff

    Looks good on the video!
    Won’t see low lights thou.

  • https://www.facebook.com/bkrhodes Brian K. Rhodes

    Not likely to win a roster spot from Watson or Wilson. But if one of those guys is used as trade bait for a 1B candidate then this guy could be a potential LOOGY.

  • https://www.facebook.com/bruce.humbert Bruce Humbert

    I would thing they are interested in seeing if he can partner with Watson as the bullpen lefty tandem. In that role he would be expected to throw 15 to 20 pitches – and have two plus pitches. If this works out then Wilson is freed up to be a trade chip or fifth starter – something I have hoped they would try. If it doesn’t work out they can park him in Indy or release him – not a big risk.

  • leadoff

    More depth, might help down the road, might not, nothing ventured, nothing lost.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

      leadoff….you never have enough pitching!


  • Ecbucs

    No harm in bringing him in and seeing what he can do. Who knows, maybe he speaks english (or spanish) well and can help translate for asian players in system.

    Maybe he becomes a coach or scout back in Taiwan.

    He could be valuable to organization without ever appearing in majors. If he contributes at major league level that is a bonus.