Taiwanese infielder Zheng Zongzhe, who has worked hard in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system, has been recognized for his good results in the 2023 season. In the latest rookie rankings released by “Baseball America” magazine, he was listed as the ninth-ranked rookie on the Pirates farm.
After Zheng Zongzhe was promoted to high-level 1A for the first time at the beginning of this year, he posted an OPS of 0.980 and was promoted to 2A after playing 57 games. Although the book numbers of 2A are not good, and the OPS dropped to 0.656, “Baseball America” pointed out that the Pirates’ high-level 1A is good for hitters. Zheng Zongzhe’s performance in 2A in 2 months was actually not bad, so his ranking jumped all the way from the Pirates’ 24th place in the mid-season. By the start of the 2024 season, we will be ranked 9th.
In the introduction to Zheng Zongzhe in this ranking, it was pointed out that his batting ability has been well evaluated by both scouts and data. Scouts believe that he has excellent bat control ability, and according to the data, his overall swing rate is 21.6%. The strike rate and swing rate of 15.8% are both good results. Although the ball is not particularly powerful, he can hit the gaps between outfielders and use his speed to make long hits.
The introduction also pointed out that it is rumored that the Pirates internally hope that he can modify his hitting strategy and focus more on attacking the ball path where he can cause damage, rather than just hitting the ball into the field. In addition, his ability to shoot left-hand shots also needs to be improved, which is the biggest problem he encountered in 2A.
In the 2024 season, Zheng Zongzhe is expected to start the season in 2A, but there is a chance to be promoted to 3A in the middle of the season. “Baseball America” even believes that it may also challenge the major leagues. In the future, he may become a starter who can contribute on both offense and defense.
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