Three Chinese players sign with the MLB's Milwaukee Brewers
Li Xiang
["china","north america"]
Three Chinese players, Zhao Lun, Yi Jian and Kou Yongkang, officially signed contracts with the MLB's Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, the first time a team has introduced three players from the Chinese mainland at the same time.
All three youngsters were born in 2001 and have trained at the MLB development center. Zhao and Yi are pitchers while Kou is an infielder. Zhao has the best potential of all three aa his fastest pitch can reach speeds of 152 kilometers per hour. In the two games Zhao played in 2018 in Washington D.C., he played college players while still a high school student and got three shutouts plus five strikeouts.
"We've always focused on global talent development. In recent years, it is impressive to see numerous young prospects with solid fundamentals and excellent game reading ability emerging in China. In the future, we hope to have more Chinese baseball talents joining us," said Taylor Green, supervisor of the Brewers' scouting department.
Players of the MLB's Milwaukee Brewers celebrate in the game. /VCG Photo

Players of the MLB's Milwaukee Brewers celebrate in the game. /VCG Photo

Jim Small, senior vice president of MLB's international business, expressed his excitement about the signings: "We are so pleased to see more rising stars from China sign with MLB clubs. I hope these teen stars will become ambassadors for the sport's development in China and help more Chinese people know and love the sport."
"Playing in the Major League is the dream of every baseball player. Now it's just the beginning, and the next step is to move forward towards my dream," said Zhao, who ranked No.24 in the MLB's farm system on November 29, 2018, making him the first player from the Chinese mainland who ever made it into top 30 of the system's rankings.
Chinese young players wear jerseys of the Brewers. /China News Service Photo

Chinese young players wear jerseys of the Brewers. /China News Service Photo

Zhao's journey to the MLB has been a miracle filled with hard work and pain. He played baseball for the first time at the age of 10, which was late for the sport but gave him more reason to work harder than teammates. In October 2017, the pressure and exhaustion from heavy training and intense game schedule turned on forced him to take a break from the game. Though Zhao rested for several months, failing to find his best form made him even more anxious. "I thought of giving up," Zhao said to Tencent Sports.
The turning point came in the game he played in Washington D.C. in 2018. Though Zhao started his inning with all bases loaded, he managed to settle the crisis by throwing fastballs, which continued to set new pitching speed records for the game. Zhao told Tencent Sports that instead of going for strikeouts, he focused on challenging himself. When he returned to the bench, Zhao was too worried to see the pitching speed record.
Zhao could not believe it when his teammates told him that his fastest pitch reached 152km/h. Neither could the scouts on the spot. After that game, 13 teams competed for Zhao before he signed with the Brewers.
When asked about his goal for the coming new season, Zhao made gaining weight one of his priorities. Though his pitching speed was remarkable, Zhao weighed only 75 kilograms, way too light compared with his American counterparts.