Acquired by the Seattle Mariners on July 31st in the trade that sent pitcher Erik Bedard to the Boston Red Sox, 23-year-old Taiwanese-born outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang was recently selected as the recipient for the George M. Trautman Award for Topps Eastern League 2011 Player of the Year after being the driving force behind the Red Sox’s AA affiliate Portland Seadogs in Portland, Maine. The awards are presented to the player of the year in each of the 16 domestic Minor Leagues by the Topps Company of New York, in conjunction with the Minor League Baseball. Leading the Eastern League in batting average (.340), runs batted in (76), doubles (37), extra-base hits (59), runs scored (68) and slugging percentage (.648), Chiang was the Eastern League Player of the Month for June and July as well as the 2011 Most Valuable Player runner-up. Racking up 18 home runs and four triples in 88 Seadogs games this past season, the left-handed hitting Chih-Hsien Chiang combined his 2011 impressive numbers to his 2010 campaign in setting a new franchise record for grand slams (3) and being only one of two players to homer in four straight games.
Prior to playing for the Peoria Javelinas–a team of professional baseball prospects from the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and the recently crowned 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals–in the Arizona Fall League (AFL), Chiang was a stand out in both the Major League Baseball Futures Game on July 10th in Phoenix, Arizona and the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 13th in Manchester, New Hampshire. Ranked by Baseball Prospectus as the Mariners number 10 prospect with a projected 2013 Major League debut, Chih-Hsien Chiang blasted his first home run of the AFL season off Surprise Saguaros reliever Alejandro Ramos in the 10th inning of Wednesday’s extra inning 10-7 heartbreak and then went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs in Thursday’s 9-5 loss to the Salt River Rafters. Batting .297 overall and .421 against left-handed pitching in 64 at bats in the AFL, the six-foot two slugger is quite intimidating in the batter’s box. Switching off as designated hitter and right fielder for Peoria, the reverberation of Chih-Hsien Chiang’s bat will be felt after every swing well beyond the Arizona desert and across the Pacific Rim to the delight of baseball lovers worldwide. Stay tuned as the best has yet to come!