Chicago Cubs: Jen-ho Tseng named minor league pitcher of the month
By Erik Mauro
For all the hoopla about the Cubs farm system currently, well, lack thereof, anyway, there are a few under the radar pitching prospects. Adbert Alzolay, Thomas Hatch, Oscar De La Cruz, Jose Albertos, etc. But, one name that keeps blossoming and producing results is Jen-Ho Tseng.
Jen-Ho Tseng was originally signed in 2013 as an international free agent and currently ranks as the 13th best prospect in the Cubs system. In 81 career minor league starts, Tseng has posted a 3.26 ERA, with just a .251 opponent batting average, over 457 2/3 innings. So far, in 2017 alone, across two levels, Tseng has made 20 starts, pitching to a 2.77 ERA, over 120 1/3 innings, giving up just 104 hits, 110 strikeouts, and walking only 32, with a .230 opponent batting average.
Who knows what kind of a major league ceiling Tseng has, but one thing is for sure, he keeps producing results. Like July, where he was named the Cubs pitcher of the month. He pitched to a 2.25 ERA, and that’s including four starts in Iowa. The Iowa Cubs play in the Pacific Coast League, which is a hitters’ league, and in four starts, Tseng was borderline dominant.
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Based on his current trajectory, it’s hard not to see Tseng in Chicago at least at some point in 2018. Maybe even in September, if he keeps this current pace up. It’s interesting to see what kind of future Tseng holds, as he doesn’t throw too hard. His secondary, breaking stuff is also still developing. But, he has at least earned a chance in the major leagues, whether it be out of the bullpen or as a back of the rotation starter.
The Cubs’ current brass has developed many position players, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Willson Contreras, etc. Now we will see if they can do it with pitchers, which they do need at some point. Tseng has been a good starting block. The numbers certainly don’t jump off the page, but he keeps getting people out. When a pitcher just straight gets people out, that will play in the major leagues.
Currently, for 2018, the rotation sets up as Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks, and then two open spots. How will those spots be filled? Will the Cubs fill them internally? Or look outside the organization with trades/free agent signings? Should they look internally, Tseng should be near the top of the list.