Friday, November 7, 2008

2nd Signing of the (Day) Post-season!

The Astros announced this afternoon they have signed 22-year old Taiwanese reliever Chia-Jen Lo, who, I'm sorry, but can we please call him "JLo?" Easy Eddie Wade said this: "`A year ago, we talked about the importance of establishing a presence on the Pacific Rim in order to take advantage of another significant talent stream," general manager Ed Wade said. "At that time, we tasked Glen Barker with overseeing our scouting in Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea and Australia."

So hooray for Ed Wade and Glen Barker, Director of Pacific Rim Scouting, for establishing that presence with a young reliever. Back in March it was reported that the Red Sox offered Lo a $200,000 signing bonus, but he turned it down because it was considered too low. The Astros are believed to have offered $250,000.

The blog TaiwanBaseball listed Lo as being anywhere from 5'10" to 6'1" and he throws hard. Real specific, I know. His NBC Olympics bio has no pictures, but lists him at 5'11" and 176 lbs. But hey, at least he'll be a question mark for opponents. Back in October, TaiwanBaseball reported that Lo threw in a college tournament averaging 93-94 mph with good movement and topped out at 96 mph.

Pitching in the Olympics with Taiwan this summer it came out that he had a possible history of an injured shoulder (but so do I, when you think about it. And anything's possible. I have a possible history of an injured foot, too.) with as much command as a wedding reception right hook.

Regardless, Lo was signed to a minor league contract and this is a low-risk, high-reward deal for the Astros.

1 comment:

The Constable. said...

UPDATE: From Baseball Reference:

UPDATE! From Chia-Jen Lo is a pitcher who has appeared for Taiwan's national teams in junior, college and senior level competition. As of June 2008, he has not begun his professional career though he has been scouted by US and Japanese teams. Lo throws a curveball and a fastball that has peaked at 95 mph.

Lo was with Taiwan for the 2004 World Junior Championship when they finished fifth; he pitched two innings, allowing no hits or runs, striking out three, walking one and plunking one. He played with the senior team in the 2005 Asian Championship despite still being a teenager. In the 2006 World University Championship, he again represented his country. In the 2006 Haarlem Baseball Week, he threw 3 2/3 innings, fanning four and allowing two hits and a walk while saving one game. He was Taiwan's worst hurler in the 2007 World Port Tournament, with a 5.00 ERA and no decisions in two games.

Lo returned to the senior team for the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament. He allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings and saved one outing as Taiwan locked up a spot in the 2008 Olympics. His save came against the German national team and was not without difficulty; with a 2-0 lead in the 9th, he allowed a double to Jendrick Speer and Dominik Wulf single but recovered to get cleanup man Kai Gronauer (a future US minor leaguer) and former minor leaguer Michael Franke. He blew a save against Team Canada - with a 5-4 lead and two outs in the 9th, he allowed a Stubby Clapp single and Mike Saunders drove home Clapp. Chien-Ming Chiang relieved and lost the game in extra innings.

Lo threw three scoreless innings for Taiwan in the 2008 World University Championship, when they won Bronze. Lo was ineffective in the 2008 Olympics, allowing 4 baserunners and a run in 2 innings of work. He relieved Fu-Te Ni with two on in the 8th with a 2-0 lead against the Chinese national team and blew the game open, allowing a RBI single to Yufeng Zhang and 2-run double to Wei Wang; Taiwan went on to lose in an upset in extra innings.