The Pirates signed Jen-Lei Liao out of Taiwan this off-season. I saw Liao throwing a bullpen during minor league camp on Wednesday. He’s a 20-year old pitcher who has a huge frame, at 6′ 6″, 264 pounds. The Pirates have taken plenty of pitchers out of the draft with similar frames, and they’ve had success with several of those guys. The approach with Liao will be the same — improve his control, and get him to maximize his frame.
“There were some things we saw with the delivery,” Brooks said. “Some things we felt we could make some adjustments to. But there is some natural feel to pitch already. We just feel like physically there is still more we can do for him, especially from a body maintenance, because he’s a real big framed kid, 6′ 6″, 250 plus.”
Liao currently throws in the upper 80s, topping out at 92. He comes from a good baseball background. Both his mom and his dad are former athletes, playing softball and baseball respectively. They’re both coaches, and pushed him to go to high school in Japan for the baseball experience.