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Yung-Chi Chen

From BR Bullpen

YungchiChen.jpg

Yung-Chi Chen (陳鏞基)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 196 lb.

BR minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Yung-Chi Chen played in the minor league and the CPBL. Despite never having played in MLB, he still was featured in MLB 2K9 due to the fact that he was in the Players' Association and they had the rights to use him for that game. This was unusual due to the fact that 2K had stopped featuring real minor leaguers by 2009 and so they were all listed under fake names except for Chen.

In the 2002 World University Championship, the teenager hit .226/.273/.258 as the shortstop for Chinese Taipei. He was caught stealing in his lone attempt. He led his college to its first Taiwan All-College Championship Crown during his amateur career. Chen was the youngest player on the Taiwan national team for the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, in which he was one for four with a double as a backup infielder. During the 2003 Baseball World Cup, Chen batted .161/.212/.387 and had three errors in 9 games at shortstop. In the 2003 World Port Tournament, he hit .313/~.353/.406 for Taiwan. He played for Taiwan in the 2003 Asian Championship; they won Silver and earned a spot in the 2004 Olympics.

Chen was signed out of Taiwan by scout Jamey Storvick for the Seattle Mariners. He debuted professionally with the 2004 Everett AquaSox, hitting .300/.353/.420 and stole 25 bases in 28 attempts. He led the Northwest League in stolen bases and was 10th in batting average. Chen played for Taiwan in the 2004 Olympics as their starting third baseman. He hit .208/.269/.250 in 7 games and stole two bases. In 2005, batted .292/.339/.427 with 77 runs, 80 RBI, 7 triples and 15 steals in 21 tries for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in his first full-season minor league campaign. In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, Chen made the All-Tournament team as the top second baseman, thanks to a .438/.471/.656 batting line. He finished third in average behind Michel Enriquez and Jenrry Roa and did not make an error at 2B.

Yung-Chi hit .357/.357/.786 in the 2006 World Baseball Classic with three doubles and a grand slam in three games. He scored four runs and had five of Taiwan's 11 RBI. He led the team in doubles, homers, runs, RBI, OPS, slugging and total bases. He tied Justin Morneau, Miguel Tejada and Frederich Cepeda for third in the WBC in doubles, trailing Jong-beom Lee and Nobuhiko Matsunaka.

Chen led all Seattle Mariners minor leaguers in average (.324) in 2006. He tied Brent Johnson for the lead in hits (142), tied for second in stolen bases (26) and was fifth with 72 RBI. He batted .342/.388/.478 with 21 steals in 28 tries in 67 games for the Inland Empire 66ers and .295/.365/.443 in 40 contests for the San Antonio Missions. He also played three games on a rehab stint with the AZL Mariners following a left shoulder injury in late July. Had he qualified, he would have led the California League in average, 15 points ahead of Chris Rahl. Baseball America rated him as the #16 prospect in the Cal League, right behind Landon Powell. In the 2006 Futures Game, Chen batted second and started at second base. In the first inning, he flew out to CF Cameron Maybin while facing Jason Hirsh. Gio Gonzalez struck him out in the third. Luis Cruz replaced him at second before he batted again.

The Taitung native then starred in the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, with a .472/.537/.694 batting line with 7 runs and 9 RBI in 9 games. He made no errors at second base in 53 chances and turned 12 double plays. He finished third in batting average in the Cup behind Ben Risinger and Alexander Mayeta. He tied for fourth in RBI and his 17 hits were second to Mayeta. He made the All-Star team at second base for the Cup and helped Taiwan finish third. He won Gold in the 2006 Asian Games, Taiwan's only baseball Gold in an Asian Games as of 2023. Chen's .450 average in the 2002-2006 Intercontinental Cup competitions placed him fourth among all participants from 1991-2006.

Baseball America ranked Chen as Seattle's 9th-best prospect entering 2007. Chen went 5 for 15 with two doubles in starting 2007 with the Tacoma Rainiers but after five games, he injured his right shoulder and needed surgery, which ended his season. He suffered from knee injury in 2008, so he only played 69 games with a .249/.309/.329 batting line. He was then selected off waivers by the Oakland Athletics. Chen hit .283/.353/.337 with the AAA Sacramento River Cats, and he had a .324/.387/.412 batting line for AA Midland RockHounds. The Athletics released him after he hit .168/.218/.257 with Midland in 2010, and the Pittsburgh Pirates picked him up. Chen hit .238/.296/.333 for the Altoona Curve, then he became a free agent and left America.

Chen then represented Taiwan in the 2010 Intercontinental Cup. He had a .421/.522/.632 batting line with 4 doubles and 6 RBI. He also played for Taiwan in the 2010 Asian Games, and he blasted the first homer for Taiwan against Pakistan. Taiwan was beaten by South Korea in the Gold Medal game with a 9-3 score. Chen then announced that he would joined the CPBL.

The Uni-President Lions selected Chen in the first round of the 2010 CPBL Draft, and he soon became their starting shortstop. Chen hit .313/.377/.474 with 7 homers in 2010. He was selected into the 2011 CPBL All-Star Game, and he was 0-for-1; Chen would not miss this event until 2022. He ended up hitting .273/.348/.398 with 21 doubles and 8 homers. In the 2011 Taiwan Series, Chen hit .333/.417/.571, with a homer off Shane Youman in Game 4, and the Lions beat the Lamigo Monkeys in 5 games. He shined in the 2012 CPBL All-Star Game, having a 3-for-5 record with a double and a RBI. He hit .353/.476/.412 in the 2012 Taiwan Series, but the Lions were beaten by the Monkeys in 5 games.

Chen then represented Taiwan in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. He hit .444/.615/.667 to help Taiwan advanced to the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Chen only had a 4-for-19 record in the 2013 WBC. He hit .314/.376/.439 with 9 homers in 2013, ranking 7th in batting (.043 behind Yi-Chuan Lin) and tied Chin-Lung Hu with a league-leading 71 scores. He attended the 2013 CPBL All-Star Game, and he was 2-for-3 with a RBI. In the 2013 Taiwan Series, he recorded a .294/.333/.412 batting line to help the Lions sweep the EDA Rhinos. Chen won his first Best Nine as a shortstop in 2014, and he hit .314/.367/.442 with 21 doubles. He ranked 4th in batting (.036 behind Hu), 9th in hits (51 behind Hu) and 7th in doubles (11 behind Yi-Chuan Lin).

The star infielder was still solid in 2015, and he hit .278/.344/.480 with 14 homers and 23 doubles. Chen was on the Taiwan national team in the 2015 Premier 12, but he had a 0-for-10 record. He improved to .327/.385/.528 with a career-high 20 homers in 2016, and he ranked 9th in homers (14 behind Kuo-Hui Kao). He then played for Taiwan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and he was 2-for-10. Chen won his first Best Ten as a third baseman in 2017, and he had a .305/.361/.462 batting line with 15 homers. He was 1-for-2 with a RBI in the 2017 CPBL All-Star Game.

Chen extended his solid batting, hitting .304/.374/.458 with 12 homers in 2018. He was 1-for-2 in the 2018 Taiwan Series, and the Lions were beaten by the Monkeys in 6 games. Chen was 3-for-4 with a RBI in the 2019 CPBL All-Star Game, and he had a .318/.391/.491 batting line in 2019. He improved to .356/.416/.549 with 14 homers in 2020. Had he qualified, he would've ranked 2nd in batting, .003 behind his teammate Chieh-Hsien Chen. In the 2020 Taiwan Series, Chen hit .214/.313/.500 with a homer off Jose De Paula in Game 6, and the Lions beat the CTBC Brothers in 7 games.

The veteran slumped to .201/.304/.293 in 2021, and he was 1-for-6 in the 2021 Taiwan Series; the Lions were swept by the Brothers. Chen struggled again in 2022 as he had a .234/.304/.284 batting line, but he bounced back in 2023. As a first baseman, Chen hit .336/.392/.458 with 5 homers in 88 games. He would have ranked 2nd in batting (.002 behidn Chia-Jung Liang) if he had qualified. He was 2-for-11 in the 2023 CPBL Playoff Series, and the Lions were eliminated by the Monkeys.

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