Scout's View: Chin-Lung Hu
The unexpected MVP of July's Futures Game at San Francisco's AT&T Park, Hu has been more impressive with his bat than is defense this season, which is truly the most unexpected aspect of his game in 2007.Signed out of Taiwan in 2003, Hu has always been known as a wizard with the glove, showing plus range to both sides, above-average arm strength and a penchant for turning in highlight-reel plays in the middle of the diamond.But the 23-year-old batted just .254/.326/.334 in 488 at-bats in his first exposure to Double-A in the Southern League last year, following up that performance with .193/.258/.258 numbers in the Arizona Fall League.With those struggles also came an improved work ethic, however. Hu worked hard to improve during the offseason, hitting every day at home in Taiwan before heading to Vero Beach for spring training. All the work paid off, as Hu batted .329/.380/.508 with six home runs and 30 doubles before being promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas.We caught up with a National League scout to give us the rundown on one of the top players to ever come out of Taiwan:
"Defensively, he can simply be brilliant," the scout said. "There's not much else you can say about that. He's got the first-step quickness to either side, he can go deep in the hole and throw you out—the arm strength can be tremendous when he wants it to be.
"He's a finesse guy in some respects, but as that type of guy, he's fearless on turning double plays. He'll stand in there and take it. He's not afraid.
"All those things have always been present in his game. And while he generated a lot of questions last season as far as how the bat would play at higher levels, this guy was a .290 career hitter coming into this season in the minor leagues. I don't think you can throw that out. He's always hovered around 20 doubles and that's what he is—he's a guy who can hit a ton of doubles and save you a lot of runs with the glove. He's a gap power guy who really knows how to use the whole field and understands how to take advantage of what's pitched to him. He really is beginning to better understand situations, both at the plate and in the field."