Prep Baseball Report

From Taiwan: Top Prospects at the East Coast League 18U Tournament

By Dan Cox
West Coast Crosschecker

From April 1-6, our West Coast Crosschecker, Dan Cox, was stationed in Taitung City on the southeast coast of Taiwan to watch the East Coast League 18U Tournament. He came back with a ton of information about the state of baseball in that country for the top up-and-coming talent residing there, the majority of whom represent the high school senior age range. He broke his top prospects down below. This content was also assembled with the help of our colleague Po-I Lee, Baseball Operations, Taiwan.

Many of my international scout buddies told me I would love the talent, especially when it comes to arms, that come out of Taiwan each and every year. This was my first trip to Taiwan, so I expected to see some power arms along with a handful of high-end position players. To say I was blown away by the amount of talent displayed in this tournament is an understatement. Not only were there premium arms, but a large group of MLB Draft-type, left-handed-hitting position players who are legitimate prospects that profile at their positions.

Here’s my top 20 players in order, including three who are comparable to the kind of talent that will go on the first day of the 2024 MLB Draft:


1. Jun-Wei Zhang, RHP (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2024):

Top prospect of the tournament; listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds. Up to 96 mph with future plus secondary and potential plus strikes. Saw two appearances, one from the 'pen up to 95, and he came back three days later as RHS for one of the best starts I’ve seen all year. He was up to 96 mph in the first inning (2,400-plus rpm) and still reached 96 in the seventh, worked the fastball to both sides of plate with command, potential plus-plus with plus command. True slider is the best out-pitch, 82-86 mph with ¾ tilt and short/hard finish when hits, not a high-spin pitch (2,400-plus rpm) but ability to locate plays up, quality backfoot against left-handed hitters for check-swing Ks, chases against RHHs, equally effective against both RH and LH hitters, future plus strikeout pitch. Good arm speed to straight changeup, hard at 85-86 mph, occasional average fade/dive, showed some feel and ability to locate/miss down, chance for average to above-average. Excellent tempo, first-pitch strikes, efficient. Threw a no-hitter, and he was a seventh-inning HBP away from perfect game; dominating performance. Present stuff, strikes, pitchability, feel and high ceiling you look for in a top-two-round MLB Draft pick.

2. Po-Chun Lin, C/RHP (Yingge Vocational HS, 2024):

Top position player of the tournament; listed at 6-foot, 180 pounds. Limited at-bats/playing time and did not catch but stood out in the box and in cages as a LHH with plus bat speed who ends up with plus raw power. Confidence in box with rhythm and calmness. Line-to-line hitter who lets ball get deep/stays inside well and turns on mistakes/pitches in. Ball carried to all-fields, backspinned balls to oppo. Got pitched around, seldom saw a fastball but stayed with middle-away approach and took what they gave him. All the makings of a middle-of-the-order power bat and run-producer.

Threw just one inning; attacked hitters with a fastball up to 95 mph with feel for secondaries and showed makings of plus slider and changeup. After watching video of his Taiwan National Team appearances, would not be surprised if he ended up better as a starting pitcher with potential for the changeup to end up better than plus. He'd be a top-two-round prospect both ways.

3. Chi Hsiao, RHP (Ku-Pao Vocational HS):

Listed at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds. Arguably Taiwan’s top arm with an elite high-spin changeup (2,731 rpm), comparable to MLB’s best high-spin changeups. Present feel for pitch with advanced touch/command, ends up at least plus. Fastnall up to 92 mph (2,550 rpm) with zero effort.

Admitted before appearance won’t be throwing hard as he's building up for the end of spring when his spring schedule and plan allows him to cut it loose. Would not be surprised to see him 93-95 mph in pro ball this fall. Slider's ahead of curveball, both spin into the 2,300 rpm range; showed feel for both pitches with ability to get hitters to expand zone for chase Ks. Threw strikes to start. He's a very intelligent kid who was pitching with a chip on shoulder as he did not make Taiwan National Team last year. Physicality, future plus stuff, strikes and very high ceiling for another top-two-round MLB Draft prospect.

4. Cheng-An Kuo, RHP (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2025):

Top 2025 arm of event, listed at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds. Up to 92 mph with quality four-pitch mix, chance for above-average fastball and plus secondary with strikes to start. Advanced pitchability/feel for age. Made big pitches for big whiffs and Ks when he needed it. Plus confidence and mound presence, goes about his starts like a seasoned veteran. Bloodlines: Father Yung-Chih Kuo, former CPBL right-handed pitcher and the current pitching coach for the Fubon Guardians (CPBL). On track to be similar to Jun-Wei Zhang if velocity continues to improve.

5. She-Rong He Pin, 3B (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2024):

Projection left-handed-hitting third baseman, listed at 6-foot, 175 pounds. He took some of the better swings of the event and surprised with present power. Short/compact swing with quick bat and more pop than looks; homered to right-center field, just-missed another one to to right field; quality at-bats and consistently a tough out. A lean, very projectable frame with room to add 20 pounds; could end up hitting for more power than most would project. Good actions at third with a clean arm action, chance for above-average arm strength and above-average field combo; 4.45 runner to first base. Plus IQ, instincts and feel. Ingredients for a top-five-round MLB Draft prospect.

6. Mu-Heng Chen, 2B/UTL (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2024):

Arguably best swing and hitter of tournament; listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. Quiet/confident set-up, looks like a hitter, rhythm in box, on-time even with rock-back load getting off quality “A” swings often, showing off quick bat and excellent swing. Could end up hitting for some power but see more as a doubles-type hitter. Wouldn’t say bat-first player as solid at second base, with actions/range/arm for average field but more value offensively is likely. Run not a strong tool but plays up on bases with IQ and feel for game. Out to prove he’s better than some of his famous friends big motivator. Another player that fits the top-five-round MLB Draft prospect mold.

7. Shin-An Peng, OF (Pumen Senior HS, 2025):

Top 2025 bat of the event; listed at 5-foot-8, 205 pounds. Powerfully built, bat-first left-handed corner outfielder with some of the best bat speed and swings of the week, driving balls to all fields with backspin and carry. One of the more powerful bats of tournament as well, hit a huge home run in the gold medal game which played a big part in being named tournament MVP. Holds his own in both right and left field, the arm and skillset likely has him settle in long term in left. He's a strong Class of 2025 follow who could develop into a top-three or four-round MLB Draft prospect.

8. Tzu-En Shih, LHP (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2025):

A junior left-hander listed at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, who was up to 88 mph and he can really spin it. Out-stuffed hitters with a fastball-curve-slider mix. Hitters had tough time picking up fastball, got some sneak, late often at 87-88 mph. The curveball and slider are both present plus swing-and-miss pitches, equally effective down and in, back-footing and tying up RHHs as running from LHHs for chases, both have a shot at plus. No changeup in-game and he looked like a future left-handed reliever, but love the swing-and-miss stuff and upside.

9. Tzu-Chien Hsu, 3B (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2024):

Strong right-handed-hitting third baseman, listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, who was one of the better position players of the event. Quality player on both sides of ball and middle-of-the-order bat who swung it well entire event with QABs using driving balls to all fields. Present average raw with some homerun pop but see more as a doubles-type bat in the end. Sure-handed defender at third with good actions, average range and potential 55-60 arm; 4.55 runner to first base. Obvious team leader, may be the team captain, one of the toughest and strongest players on team, plus makeup to say the least. Ideal convert-to-catcher candidate, value goes way up if he can catch. A rounds 6-10-type MLB Draft prospect.

10. Cheng-You Liu, CF (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2024):

A left-handed-hitting center fielder, listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds, with tools to profile and a feel for the game. Lead-off-type as a plus contact hitter who puts ball in play and gets on; line-drive/all-fields approach, doubles machine who earns hustle doubles often. Consistent QABs, minimal swing-and-miss as a high OBP player; 4.25 runner to first base with good strides, plus stolen base instincts as a base-stealing threat, wheels play up on bases. He can run it down in center field with above-average instincts, reads, and range to stay up the middle. He has plus energy and a plus motor, plays game hard and right. Would not be surprised if ended up better than some of his famous friends. Strong Division I player in the United States, and a future rounds 6-10-type MLB Draft prospect.

11. Meng Chu, SS (National Taitung University HS, 2025):

Lean/athletic junior, right-handed-hitting shortstop listed at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, with value on both sides and big upside. Saw the ball as well as any hitter and had some of the better at-bats of the tournament; QABs often with quality swings, barreled balls and drove to all parts of field, lacks strength but already showing good bat speed and barrel control, chance for above-average hit. Quality defender at shortstop with actions, range and future above-average arm to stay there; 4.28 runner to first base and he's a base-stealing threat. Strong player on both sides who’s got all the ingredients, upside to be one of the top position players in 2025.

12. Shoo-Cheng Hsu, SS (Kao-Yuan Vocational HS, 2026):

Youngest player on this list as sophomore with arguably the highest ceiling; listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds. Lean and long with plus body projection as a left-handed-hitting shortstop. Far from polished on both sides but shows tons of promise. Future plus arm is best tool, solid actions and average range to stay at short, could always end up at third base with a future plus arm. Shows some bat speed and feel for hitting, both should improve over next two years but question if bat ends up more valuable than field. Strong 2026 follow with a high ceiling.

13. Cheng-Yu Chiang, SS (Pingtung Senior HS, 2024):

One of the more interesting upside guys of event who’s not ready for pro ball but possesses tools, IQ and plus upside and who could end up better than some of the famous guys; listed at 5-foot-9, 155 pounds. Plus run is presently strongest tool, 4.11 to first base with very good stride, knows how to steal bases and advance with IQ and excellent reads. Smooth/easy fielder with plus actions, sure hands, good arm action and future plus arm, legit shot to stay at shortstop and a chance for above-average field. Got some feel for hitting and got off “A” swing often for deep drives, much more pop than looks who could hit for some power in the end. Physically, he's far from ready for pro ball, but the upside is as high as any player in event. Strong Division I-type of recruit who would be a draft-and-follow prospect.

14. Zhe-Lun Chuan, CF (Kao-Yuan Vocational HS, 2024):

Undersized left-handed-hitting CF/RF, listed at 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, who was one of the best “baseball players” of tournament. Fun-to-watch gamer on both sides with plus energy and motor. Short/compact swing, slap/plus contact bat who consistently put ball in play, slap on ground left-side and use wheels to beat out for infield knocks; pesky hitter who frustrated pitchers. Runs enough for center field and has just enough arm for right field, where his run/range played up with plus instincts and reads. A 4.25 runner to first base; aggressive baserunner advancing on balls in dirt and base-stealing threat. A quality Division I center fielder stateside who would earn day three consideration in the MLB Draft.

15. Yu-Peng Lee, LHP (National Taitung University HS, 2025):

Athletic junior left-handed pitcher, listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pound, who scouts have seen up to 88 mph, though he did not have his best fastball at this event, but he showed lots to like and obvious target guy for next year. Located fastball well with occasional late-run to get off barrels. Feel for spin with both curveball and slider that project as future out-pitches. Competed without his best stuff, pitched in-and-out and located pitches. Would have been one of the top Class of 2025 arms if the fastball had reached the upper-80s, and he's still one scouts will keep close eye on in 2025.

16. Yo-Chian Chang, RHP (Yuli HS, 2024):

Projection senior prep right-hander, listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds. He ran his fastball up to 90 mph with zero effort, and there's much more in the tank velo-wise with natural strength gains; he may throw real hard one day. The changeup is ahead of curveball with strikes to start. He's an ideal college guy after high school who has athleticism, body projection and upside to develop into a pro ball righty after three or four years.

17. Wei-Che Tseng, 1B (Yingge Vocational HS, 2024):

Lean frame, listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds; plus body projection for a left-handed-hitting first baseman who showed promise with the bat, driving balls to center and right field. Plenty of room for added strength and a legit shot at plus raw power to become a middle-of-the-order run-producer long-term. Solid defender at first base with average range; athletic enough to possibly play left field as well. Strong Division I player in the United States who would earn day three consideration in the MLB Draft.

18. Po-Han Sung, 1B (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2024):

A big, strong bat-first left-handed-hitting first baseman, listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, who swung it well all week. Wide/no-stride-type with present plus strength which allows him to generate bat speed driving balls to center and right field; middle-of-the-order power bat profile. Holds his own at first, defense not a big value, could end up more of a DH. Strong Division I player in the United States who would earn day three consideration in the MLB Draft.

19. Cheng-En Ma, CF (National Taitung University HS, 2024):

Strong left-handed-hitting center fielder in a good body (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) with tools and plus makeup. No single plus tool but solid tools all-around on both sides of ball. Bat speed and feel for hitting, got into a handful of pitches showing off present average power and chance for plus power. Runs/moves well in center field with quality jumps/reads and average range, shot to stay in center field with just enough arm for right; also a 4.31 runner to first base, aggressive baserunner. Tireless worker in the cages, taking extra swings while watching and learning from the famous national team hitters; plus makeup kid who wants to improve as a player, potential overachiever. Strong Division I player stateside who would earn day three consideration in the MLB Draft.

20. Ding-Xuan Gu, OF (Ku-Pao Vocational HS, 2025):

Very lean left-handed-hitting left fielder, listed at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, who showed good pitch recognition, feel for hitting and ability to barrel balls. He's far from being fully physically developed, with room to 20-plus pounds, but already showing bat speed and barrel control. Run not a strength; played left field so projecting as bat-first value as a 2025 to keep eyes on.