The Red Sox on Wednesday signed 20-year-old righthander Chih-Jung Liu, an interesting prospect from Taiwan, for $750,000.
Liu was a high school standout who elected to attend college and in the last six months has seen his fastball jump up to 98 miles per hour after he recovered from some injuries.
Liu was the Most Valuable Player of the recent Asian Championships, teaming with Red Sox infielder Tzu-Wei Lin as Taiwan won the gold medal, and is set to play for Taiwan in the upcoming Premier12 tournament, an Olympic qualifier.
In Taiwan, Liu told reporters that he spoke to Lin about his decision and was eager to join the Sox.
“Lin will look after me,” he said.
Liu, a switch-hitting shortstop with some power, was a two-way player in Taiwan but was signed as a pitcher by the Red Sox. He played on the same junior team as former Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang and is now being coached by Wang with the Premier12 team.
Liu was overworked in high school and passed on a professional career to attend Culture University. Coaches there shut him down from pitching until earlier this year. When he returned to the mound, his velocity took a jump and major league scouts became interested.