The Pirates Prospects 2013 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features over 250 prospect reports, the 2013 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
We start the countdown with the number 20 prospect, Jin De Jhang.
20. Jin-De Jhang, C
Jhang was signed for $250,000 out of Taiwan in 2011, which was the top bonus for a hitter from Taiwan. The Pirates signed him with right-handed pitcher Wei-Chung Wang, who signed for a Taiwanese record $350,000. The catcher was described as a guy with excellent bat speed and power, and a strong throwing arm behind the plate. There were some concerns about his future due to his thick build and potential weight issues.
The GCL Pirates had two of the top young catchers in the system, with 2012 second round pick Wyatt Mathisen joining Jhang. Mathisen was expected to be a prospect to watch due to his draft status. Jhang came as a surprise. He didn’t look like much of a prospect prior to the 2012 season, mostly due to the weight issues. However, he worked hard to lose some weight, which made him more agile and allowed him to improve on his blocking and receiving. He’s got a strong arm, putting up 1.9 pop times and throwing out 29% of runners in the GCL.
The biggest asset from his game is his hitting. He’s one of the best pure hitters in the system, and makes strong contact. Right now he’s a line drive hitter to the gaps, but he could have the potential to hit double digit homers in the future. He’s got great plate patience, with a good walk rate and an extremely low strikeout rate. He also is deceptively quick for his size, usually running at an all-out speed on the bases.
Jhang has the ability to stick behind the plate, as long as he works to keep the weight off. He’s got a great arm, and improving blocking and receiving skills. He also has potential as a two-way player, with advanced hitting abilities and the potential for some power. He could make the jump to West Virginia in 2013, where he will continue getting regular time behind the plate. The Pirates saw Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco break out in their jump to West Virginia in 2012. Jhang is a strong candidate to have a similar breakout season at the same level in 2013.