Rockies go after Taiwan pitcher

By Barney Hutchinson
November 29, 2001

DENVER–Two players from one country does not constitute a “pipeline.” But for the Rockies, it definitely demonstrates a trend.

Colorado has approached 16-year-old pitcher Luo Ching-lung about singing with them for a reported $1.4 million bonus. Word in Taiwan is the deal is awaiting approval by the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office.

If the Rockies land Luo, he will be the second young Taiwanese pitcher they’ve signed in the last 26 months. They put together a deal to bring Tsao Chin-Hui to the United States on Oct. 7, 1999. Tsao is currently recovering from ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow.

Luo, a junior at Koio Yuan High, helped pitch a Taiwan team to the Junior Asian Cup championship in September.

The 6-foot-6 pitcher beat Australia 14-4 in the semifinals on Sept. 4. Luo worked five innings and gave up only two hits to Australia while fanning eight.

Taiwan then beat Japan 2-0 later in the day for the title. Taiwan pitcher Lee Cheng-nan blanked Japan on only two hits over nine innings.

The tournament began on Aug. 30, and brought together eight teams representing Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines as well as the Republic of China.

Luo also was pursued by the Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox, Mariners and the Yankees.

Los Angeles has had success getting talent out of Taiwan. The Dodgers signed outfielder Chin-Feng Chen to a contract in January 1999 for a $680,000 bonus, and he has turned into one of the best position-player prospects in the Dodgers organization.

Chen was a 12-year-old right fielder and leadoff batter for the Taiwan team that won the 1990 Little League World Series. The country has dominated the Little League World Series, winning 17 titles in a 28-year period between 1969 and 1996.