The Milwaukee Brewers received a compensatory pick in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday for first baseman Corey Hart, who decided it was best to skip town and sign with the Seattle Mariners on the third day of the 2013 Winter Meetings. Milwaukee selected left-handed pitcher Wei-Chung Wang, which is certainly an interesting pick.
“I wouldn’t say we necessarily took this guy just because he’s left-handed,” Brewers pro scouting direction Zack Minasian said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We liked him because of his upside. Doug (Melvin) always encourages (us) to try to be creative. This was one of those situations where when (special assistant) Dick (Groch) and I first saw the name and the Gulf Coast League, we didn’t necessarily think Doug would be on board with taking him. But he seemed open-minded to it. We told him what we saw in the player.”
The 21-year-old has spent just one year playing baseball in the United States. That occurred in 2013 at the rookie level in the Gulf Coast league. Wang went 1-3 with a 3.23 earned run average and 42 strikeouts in 12 games (11 starts). Some encouraging statistics are that he posted 0.8 walks per nine innings, 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings and had a 10.50 strikeout to walk ratio.
It’s incredibly rare for a player taken in the Rule 5 Draft to be on a Major League roster the following season. It’s also uncommon for a player to make the jump from the rookie league to the big leagues. With that being said, Wang has played professional baseball in Taiwan. Not to mention, he is considered to have enough control over his pitches to hang in the majors.
The Brewers will take a hard look at him in Spring Training in order to decide if he would be an asset in the rotation or the bullpen for the 2014 Major League squad.