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Cleveland Indians prospect Yu-Cheng Chang struggled in his first full season

Chang struggled to live up to the hype generated by his tremendous rookie ball numbers from 2014.

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Yu-Cheng Chang was signed out of Taiwan by the Indians in 2013 for $500,000, and came to the U.S. in 2014, spending the season playing for the Tribe's rookie ball team in the Arizona Summer League, where he was the second-best played in the entire league behind only his teammate Bobby Bradley. Chang hit .346/.420/.566 with a low strikeout rate while playing decent defense at shortstop. Those numbers marked him as someone to watch in 2015.

Chang was sent to Single-A Lake County, and with three extra-base hits in the Captains' first three games, it looked like he might be picking up right where he left off. Soon though it became clear that there were going to be some growing pains. Twenty games into the season, Chang still hadn't homered, and his batting line stood at just .254/.299/.338. His strikeout rate had skyrocketed to 29.1% and he'd drawn only 4 walks in 79 plate appearances.

In early June Chang was hit in the helmet by a pitch, and suffered a concussion that kept him off the field for almost three weeks. His production in the weeks following his return was even worse than it had been early in the season, as he collected just 4 hits in his first 53 at bats back. Chang finally got things going a bit better during the final eight weeks of the season, and during the final two weeks he hit .333/.381/.462. That strikes me as too small a sample to get excited about, but one could argue he needed some time to adjust and was then set back by the concussion, and what we saw near the end of the season was a sign that he was putting things together and had gotten back on track.

As his, his full-season numbers looked almost nothing like his numbers from a year earlier. His walk rate was down, his strikeout rate was up, his impressive (so impressive in 2014) was hardly there at all, and even in the pitching-friendly Midwest League, his .232/.293/.361 batting line was only good for a wRC+ of 91.

Chang will almost certainly be in Lake County again when 2016 begins. Hopefully he plays well enough to be promoted to High-A Lynchburg by midseason, but that of course remains to be seen. Chang's future probably isn't at shortstop, and next season could see him moved to second or third base.

Team (League) G PA H 1B 2B 3B HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+
Lake County (A) 105 440 91 62 16 4 9 5 .232 .293 .361 91