WEI-CHIEH HUANG, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: September 26, 1993
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2014 (Diamondbacks)
How Acquired: Minor League Rule 5 Draft (from Giants)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Huang has had a disjointed career. He signed with Arizona for a moderately large bonus out of Taiwan and went straight to full season ball, where he started off well. Since then he’s had lots of brief stints at various levels, usually pitching well and occasionally not. He’s also had some injury interruptions and has drawn concerns about his durability. He’s always had very high K rates and showed enough to lead Texas to trade for him and then put him on the 40-man roster. The Rangers released him, though, late in the year when he reached the majors and he was out of organized baseball for all of 2020-21. He returned in 2022 at the age of 28. Huang’s fastball averages about 93 mph, and he adds a slider, curve and change. His best pitch is the change, which has led to the high strikeout rates. The Pirates claimed him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
Huang missed the early part of the season with back problems, then made a dozen starts and three relief appearances at low A. He got very good results and Baseball America ranked him 16th in the Arizona system.
Huang’s season started late due to his military commitment in Taiwan. He then went to high A and struggled through half a dozen outings before being shut down due to shoulder soreness. He missed a couple of months, then finished the season pitching in long relief in short season ball. BA still ranked him 21st in the system.
Huang split his season between low and high A, pitching exclusively in relief. He got excellent results, although by this time he was 23.
Huang pitched in high A and AA through the end of July, when the D’backs traded him to Texas. Still pitching mostly in relief, Huang did well at both stops before the trade, then not so much after joining the Rangers’ system. Texas still added him to the 40-man roster after the season.
Huang opened the season pitching in relief in AA, but the Rangers called him up twice briefly in April and May. He spent most of the rest of the season in AAA, but also missed June and part of July with an unknown injury. He had a rough four-game stretch after returning to AAA that inflated his numbers, but otherwise pitched well. The Rangers nevertheless removed him from the roster in December, then re-signed him several days later to a minor league deal.
The pandemic eliminated the minor league season in 2020 and in August the Rangers released Huang. He didn’t pitch in affiliated ball in 2021.
Huang signed a minor league deal with the Giants in February and went to AAA as a reliever. He struggled there, posting a 6.08 ERA through mid-June, then went out with an unknown injury. After rehabbing in rookie ball, he returned to AAA as a starter in early August. In 11 starts the rest of the way, he posted a 3.09 ERA. The Giants did not protect him from either phase of the Rule 5 draft and the Pirates selected him in the minor league portion.
The Pirates probably see Huang as AAA starting depth. His career has been fairly odd, but he has some upside and it’s not improbable that he could reach Pittsburgh at some point.
|2023: Minor League Salary
|Signing Bonus: $450,000
MiLB Debut: 2015
MLB Debut: 4/23/2019
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2018 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2019)
MLB Service Time: 0.019
|July 2, 2014: Signed as an international free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
July 31, 2018: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks with Joshua Javier to the Texas Rangers for Jake Diekman.
November 20, 2018: Contract purchased by the Texas Rangers.
December 2, 2019: Became a free agent.
December 5, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Texas Rangers.
August 8, 2020: Released by the Texas Rangers.
February 1, 2022: Signed as a minor league free agent by the San Francisco Giants.
December 7, 2022: Selected from the San Francisco Giants by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.