The Seattle Mariners apparently still had plenty of international slot dollars from their offseason buildup when they were chasing two-way star Shohei Ohtani from Japan.
They announced the signing of left-handed pitchers Jing-Yu Chang of Taiwan and Blake Townsend of Australia on Tuesday.
Chang is an 18-year-old who recently graduated from Kao Yuan Technology and Commerce High School. He’s also a member of the Taiwanese National U-18 team.
Tim Kissner, the Mariners’ director of international scouting, said they liked Chang’s athleticism.
“(He’s got) a very good, durable body, clean arm action, repeatable delivery, feel for the strike zone and ability to spin a curveball,” Kissner said in a news release. “We talk about prospects with upside and projection, and Chang fits the mold perfectly.”
Townsend is a 17-year-old who toured Arizona with the Australian U-18 national team in April and pitched against Major League extended spring training teams. Kissner said Townsend profiles as a starting pitcher.
He isn’t the first Australian pitcher to join the Mariners’ organization. They had some success with left-handers Ryan Rowland-Smith, Travis Blackley and Craig Anderson.
“We are excited about his upside once he begins working with our player development group,” Kissner said. “Watching him pitch in January, I was very impressed with his extreme competitiveness on the mound while throwing a ton of strikes.”