When the 2019 baseball season began for Eric Yang he was entering his junior season at UC Santa Barbara. He was coming off of a tough sophomore season where he hit just .244/.372/.303 with no home runs. But things turned around for the catcher in a big way as a junior as he played in 56 games and tore up the Big West Conference, hitting .368/.479/.545 on the season with 16 doubles, seven home runs, and as many walks as strikeouts – 30. That performance led to the Cincinnati Reds selecting him with their 7th round draft pick later in the summer.
After the draft, the Reds sent Eric Yang to join their Advanced-Rookie affiliate in Billings, Montana. The start of his professional career didn’t exactly get out to the start that he was likely hoping for. Yang didn’t get a hit in his first three games, and went 2-16 in his first five games. After a few days off late in the month, he would cap off June by going 3-4 with a double, walk, home run, three runs scored, and two runs batted in. It was the kind of game to get things moving in the right direction.
With the calendar flipping over to July, that final game of June carried right on over for Eric Yang, who racked up multiple hits in the first three games of the month. At the midpoint of July he was hitting .407 for the Mustangs during the month. Things got better the rest of the way. The backstop played in 11 games in the second half of July and went 14-33 (.424) while slugging .697. In total, Yang put up huge numbers during the month, hitting .417/.486/.600 in his 19 games played.
While he tore the cover off of the ball during July, August got out to a slow start. From the start of the month through August 13th, Eric Yang slumped, doing just 3-19 (.158) – but he did each base eight times in there via walk or hit-by-pitch, giving him a .407 on-base percentage in that stretch. Things picked up in the following week for the catcher as he hit .381/.519/.524 in six games played – but he went back into a slump for the final two weeks of the season. In the last 12 games of the year he went just 6-42 (.143). Over the final five weeks of the year he would hit .207/.398/.280, doing his best Derek Dietrich impression and getting hit by 12 pitches in just 26 games played.
For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Eric Yang Spray Chart
Eric Yang Scouting Report
Position: C | B/T: R/R
Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 185 lbs | Drafted: 7th Round, 2019
Born: March 26, 1998
Hitting | His hit tool is slightly below-average.
Power | There’s average raw power to tap into in the future.
Speed | He a below-average runner.
Defense | He’s a solid defender behind the plate who is known to handle a pitching staff well.
Arm | He has an average to above-average arm behind the plate.
At the plate there are things to really like with Eric Yang. He makes loud contact, and while the raw power hasn’t fully translated into games yet, it’s started to and there’s a chance that he could put plenty of baseball’s into the seats in the future. Yang doesn’t go the opposite way much, but he goes up the middle plenty to go with pulling the ball. Like most catchers, he’s got a good understanding of the strikezone – he walked 11% of the time in 2019 while striking out 21% of the time.
Behind the plate there’s some room for growth. He shows an average arm most of the time, but every so often he’ll pop an above-average time down to second base when everything clicks. He’s athletic behind the plate, which should help him tighten things up when it comes to receiving and blocking pitches.
There are no real stand out tools for Eric Yang. But none of his tools are really below-average except for his speed, which doesn’t matter much as a catcher. For a catcher, there’s a chance for him to hit for some average and for a little bit of power while having no issues on the defensive side of things. He’ll need to continue to develop on both the offensive and defensive side, but the pieces are there for him to develop into a big league catcher down the line.
Longest Home Run of the Year
412 feet on June 29th.
Interesting Stat on Eric Yang
Despite playing in just 51 games he led the Cincinnati Reds farm system with 19 hit-by-pitches.
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