Giants’ Kai-Wei Teng Shows Promise But Needs More Control


Kai-Wei Teng has progressed through the Giants’ system as a pitcher who is effectively wild. For the Taiwanese righthander to become more effective at the highest levels, he probably needs to become a little less wild.

The Giants promoted the 24-year-old Teng from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento in mid June.

Teng’s numbers in Double-A this season clearly illustrate the promise and the struggles he carries. The good: He racked up 68 strikeouts and allowed just 38 hits in 47.1 innings. The bad: Twenty walks combined with 10 hit batters contributed to a 4.75 ERA.

“He’s still someone who’s trying to figure out how to best repeat his delivery,” Richmond pitching coach Paul Oseguera said of Teng, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds. The Giants acquired Teng from the Twins in the 2019 trade that sent reliever Sam Dyson to Minnesota.

Oseguera said Teng possesses “tremendous stuff,” beginning with a “free and easy fastball. He can just so effortlessly go to another gear and pump in 97 (mph)—and it looks like he’s just throwing it at 50%.” 

The other three pitches Teng uses are a split-changeup, curveball and slider. “When things are really clicking for him,” Oseguera said, “hitters have to worry about so many different pitches.”

Oseguera said the Giants have encouraged Teng to rely on his fastball more often.

Oseguera said that in the lower levels of the minor leagues, a pitcher “can throw some offspeed stuff off the plate and you’re going to still get those (swings), whereas the more mature hitters are going to start laying off (those pitches) and have better approaches.”

Oseguera and the Giants were heartened by Teng’s final start with Richmond. On June 14 at Bowie, he worked five shutout innings with five strikeouts and no walks but one hit batsman. He threw a mere 49 pitches.

“For him to be that efficient,” Oseguera said, “challenging hitters with his fastball more often and seeing his delivery, just repeating it over and over . . . was fun to see.”

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