Minor League Baseball announced their Low-A All-Star teams on Thursday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Bradenton Marauders were represented on the Florida State League list by 20-year-old shortstop Tsung-Che Cheng.
Cheng batted .270/.376/.418 in 104 games this season in the pitcher-friendly FSL. His .795 OPS was 108 points above league average. That is impressive on its own, but he also excelled on defense and with his speed. Cheng was just recently named the top baserunner for the Pirates minor league system. He had 33 steals in 39 attempts during the season, leading all Pirates in steals. Among FSL players, he finished first with 79 runs, fourth with 104 hits, third with 25 doubles, first with seven triples, second in stolen bases, fourth with 63 walks, sixth in OBP among players with at least 250 plate appearances.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.