It’s been a slow burn for Chiang since he signed in 2011, but after Tommy John surgery and a number of other ailments that have caused him to miss time, Chiang is finally starting to look like the pitcher Cleveland envisioned when they signed him. In 2016, Chiang surpassed his highest innings total by more than 100 innings for Full Season A Lake County with 152 ⅓ innings pitched.
Chiang’s lanky frame has filled out considerably over the past two seasons and the added strength has paid dividends for the Taiwan native. He has relatively short arm action and hides the ball a bit in back while staying tall and getting good angle to the plate. He has a very quick arm through his high-3/4’s slot, and his low 90s fastball has good late life in the zone with some bore in on righties. The breaking ball rolls a bit, but the quick arm plays it up and he is able to use it in the zone. He has some ability to dial up better snap, but the execution is inconsistent. It is a fringe-average pitch right now, but should continue to develop and get to average if he can stay healthy. The changeup gets some dive and gives Chiang a solid three-pitch mix when he is repeating his mechanics.
He likely won’t ever be a big swing-and-miss guy, but he throws strikes and keeps the ball on the ground. He will give up his share of contact, however nothing he throws is straight, which gives him a chance to keep the ball off of the barrel. Whether it be is the breaking ball or the changeup, he will need to find a more consistent put-away pitch as he starts to face more advanced lineups. Being 23 years old in High A isn’t ideal, but Chiang did get a late start due to his arm issues. While he won’t blow anyone away with his raw stuff, now healthy he should continue to see some advances in his command, and generate enough soft contact to continue to turn over lineups. He did throw for Chinese-Taipei in this year’s WBC, so Cleveland may not let him rack up 150-plus innings again in 2017. However, if his hot start at Lynchburg continues, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him tested at Double-A later in the summer.