JIN-DE JHANG
CATCHER
Born: May 17, 1993
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 220
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2011
How Acquired: Int. FA
Country: Taiwan
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Jhang was considered one of the top prospects in Taiwan when the Pirates signed him.  He showed a good bat with power potential in training camp in 2012, and his bonus indicates that the Pirates consider him a real prospect.  He hasn’t caught much, so his development behind the plate will play a big role in his progress through the system.  In camp he showed a good arm but, not surprisingly, some mechanical issues.  His name is often listed as Chin-De Chang, but the minor league roster listed him as shown above.

2012
R:  305/382/398, 128 AB, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 14 BB, 16 K, 1-2 SB

Jhang had a strong debut in the GCL, leading Baseball America to name him the league’s 19th best prospect.  He shared the catching position with Wyatt Mathisen, starting about half the time and sometimes entering the game in the late innings, as Mathisen was coming back from a foot injury.  Jhang showed a good arm, throwing out 28%, and moved well behind the plate.  Despite his stocky build, he runs decently, posting 4.3/4.4 time to first.  He hit well, showing very good plate discipline.  He didn’t hit for a lot of power, but that could come later.  He went 10-22 against LHPs.  It’s a very small sample size but hopefully indicates he’ll be able to handle lefties.

2013
A-:  277/338/413, 184 AB, 8 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 17 BB, 24 K, 0-1 SB

Jhang was the primary catcher for Jamestown and had a good season.  He had a solid season at the plate, making good contact and showing some power.  His hitting did tail off over the course of the season:  his monthly OPS went from .925 to .751 to .660.  He struggled against LHPs, batting just 262/311/310 against them.  Defensively, Jhang showed solid receiving skills and threw out an impressive 47% of opposing base stealers.

2014
A+:  219/263/301, 269 AB, 12 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 15 BB, 36 K, 3-3 SB

The Pirates were facing a roster crunch with their catchers, as Reese McGuire, Jhang and Wyatt Mathisen all should probably have been at West Virginia.  The team decided to address the issue by moving Mathisen to third and jumping Jhang up to Bradenton, where he shared the catching duties with Jacob Stallings.  Offensively, at least, Jhang had a hard time with the jump, as he had trouble with off speed stuff.  He wasn’t totally overmatched, though, as he had a very low K rate.  Jhang struggled especially in the first two months, hit well in the middle of the year, then slumped again.  His OPS by month:

April — .514
May — .421
June — .759
July — .644
August — .539

He had just a .452 OPS against LHPs, although it was in only 84 plate appearances.  He handled the jump better defensively, throwing out 32% of base stealers.

The Pirates will face another catching crunch in 2015, as Reese McGuire should be the starter at Bradenton and they drafted two college catchers who have good potential, or three if the team follows through on its statement that it will try Connor Joe behind the plate.  Jhang doesn’t appear ready for AA and he won’t turn 22 until a month and a half into the season, so they’ll either have to try him at Altoona or leave him sitting on the bench a lot.  He still appears to have too much potential for that to happen.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2015: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $250,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2018
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 10, 2011: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.