Braves sign two international players

With July 2nd being the day teams can sign talent from the international market, the Atlanta Braves have signed a number of players. The Braves Show's Bill Shanks takes a look at two of the players signed by the Braves.

The Atlanta Braves have signed two players from the Pacific Rim: Japanese outfielder Ryohei Shimabukuro and Taiwanese pitcher Chen-En Hong.

Shimabukuro is only 16-years old, but he is already 6'2", 220 pounds. It's the first time a sixteen-year-old from Japan has signed with a Major League organization. "Shima" has played first base, but the Braves are going to see if he can catch.

The Braves first saw Shima two years ago when they signed Takumi Hamaoka, an outfielder now with the Gulf Coast League Braves. The Braves scouts say his bat is "something special." Shima will play in the Australian Academy this summer and then come to Florida for the Instructional League this fall.

Hong is a 6'1", 165-pound right-hander whose fastball has been clocked in the low-90s. The Braves compare him to a young Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees' starter, with a similar loose arm for his age. He's the first pitcher ever signed by the Braves out of Taiwan.

The Braves will also have Hong play in Australia this summer and bring him over for the Fall Instructional League.

The Braves signed four more international players. The Braves Show will have additional information on those four next week.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at

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