The Padres have ventured into new amateur international signing waters, signing Taiwanese college player Wen-Hua Sung who is 19 years old.
The Padres have been much more aggressive in Year 2 of General Manager A.J. Preller’s reign than year one, both in the recent June draft and with international signing. Certainly added Hideo Nomo as a special assistant to the region also played a part in this strategy.
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For a local connection, it was noted that Sung was on the Asian-Pacific Little League World Series team that beat the team from Chula Vista several years ago.
Currently Sung is playing for the Taiwan under-23 team and attending a sports academy and won’t likely join the Padres much until next Spring Training. Preller was excited as he announced the teams first Asian amateur signing:
"“There’s good baseball being played throughout the world. There’s good baseball in the Pacific Rim, in Taiwan and Korea and Japan. Obviously, it’s about signing good players. I think it’s letting the baseball community over there know we’ll be aggressive and active if it’s the right guy. There’s interest in getting those guys to the States and making them Padres.”"
The Padres are doing all they can to hedge their bets on all sides of the globe and age spectrum to improve their system pitching. Sung is 19, and the Padres drafted all over the board during the June draft from high school to college arms to pepper their rotation.
A.J. Preller’s international scouting was lauded when he was with the Rangers (albeit with a few policy infractions) and after trading away much of the system early for Major League ready talent, he is slowly turning a dramatic about course as he prepares this team for the futures and remakes in his own brand. You certainly have to start somewhere and perhaps the Padres signing this weekend can be the beginning of cornering the market.