Monday, November 22, 2004

Chin-Hui Tsao Report

Chin-Hui Tsao, RHP, Colorado Rockies
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 1999, Taiwan
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'2", 180 lbs

After signing out of Taiwan, he burst upon the scene as a prospect in 2000, when he lit up the Sally League with a 2.73 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 145 innings as a teenager. Then he had Tommy John surgery in 2001, and fought his way back, having a very good 2002 campaign for Tulsa of the Texas League. This season, he had problems with his shoulder that limited his innings and has prompted the Rockies to ponder making him their 450th "closer of the future" in their history. He also made stops in 4 cities along the way. In the Sally League, he posted a 1.80 ERA, 14 K's, 1 BB in 10 IP. In the Texas League, he had a 2.77 ERA, 14 K, 2 BB in 13 IP. The PCL, 8.53 ERA, 14 K, 5 BB, 12 2/3 IP. And finally in the Rockies bullpen, he collected a 3.86 ERA, 11 K, 1 BB in 9 1/3 IP.

When he's healthy he has electric stuff. An exploding slider, a mid 90's fastball, good control, and an advanced approach against hitters. There are two things keeping me from giving him my full endorsement, and they should be glaringly obvious at this point. The first is that he's looking to play half his games at the best hitters park in major league history. It's the place that lives in every pitcher's nightmares. The second is his health. He's already had surgery on his elbow, and problems with a hamstring and his pitching shoulder. One hopes that limiting his innings by moving him to the bullpen would protect him from injury, but if the problem is mechanical instead of standard wear and tear, then it just delays the inevitable. I think he'll be a great reliever when he's healthy, but he's a big injury risk.

ETA: Now
4 Stars

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