Jen-Ho Tseng on the mound. (Photo/Chen Chih-hsiang)
The Chicago Cubs announced on Monday the signing of Taiwanese right-handed pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng, making official what had been rumored for weeks.
Tseng's agent confirmed in a statement that the 18-year-old, ranked 29th on MLB.com's Top 30 list of international prospects, has officially joined the Cubs after signing a contract with the team.
Tseng will receive a US$1.6 million signing bonus, the fourth highest ever for a Taiwanese player from a major league club.
Only right-hander Chin-Hui Tsao, who signed with the Rockies for US$2.2 million in 1999; shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin, who received a bonus of US$2.05 million from the Red Sox in 2012; and Chien-Ming Wang, who got a US$2.01 million signing bonus from the New York Yankees in 2000, have signed for more.
Tseng made a name for himself at the 2012 World Junior Baseball Championship, going 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings against Canada, South Korea and Colombia.
He was also the youngest player on Taiwan's roster in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, in which he made two appearances and gave up one run in an inning pitched.
A known commodity in the international baseball world with a fastball in the 150 kilometer per hour range, he was reportedly being pursued by several teams, including the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins and the Seattle Mariners.
Tseng graduated from San Min High School in Kaohsiung in June this year and will leave for Sydney, Australia Wednesday for a training session from Aug. 15-24 before flying to the United States in early September.