Yu Chang makes MLB debut: 178th Hillcat to reach MLB
Former Lynchburg Hillcats shortstop Yu Chang made his Major League debut for the Cleveland Indians on Friday, June 28, against the Baltimore Orioles. He started the game at third base and batted eighth in Cleveland’s lineup. The Orioles beat the Tribe 13-0 at Camden Yards.
Chang becomes the third former Hillcats player to debut with Cleveland in the last week, joining Aaron Civale and Bobby Bradley.
The Taitung, Taiwan native was signed by the Indians as an International Free Agent in 2013 after starring in international tournaments in his home country. The right-handed hitter played in 530 Minor League games prior to his call-up to The Show, batting .249 across six-and-a-half seasons.
Chang appeared in 109 games in a Hillcats uniform during the 2016 season as the club’s everyday shortstop. He was a Carolina League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star that year, batting .259 with 13 home runs, 70 RBI and 30 doubles.
Ranked by MLB.com as the Cleveland Indians No. 11 overall prospect, Chang ascended through Cleveland’s farm system quickly. He never repeated a level until returning to Triple-A Columbus this season after spending all of 2018 with the Clippers. He also earned league All-Star honors four times in his first five pro seasons despite perennially being young for his circuit, including being the youngest batting qualifier (age 22) in the Triple-A International League in 2018.
This season, Chang was limited to just 21 games with Columbus prior to his call-up to The Show. The 23-year-old was slowed by a finger injury that cost him six weeks of the year.
Chang is the 178th Hillcats player to make his Major League debut since 1995 and is the 11th to make his debut for the Indians since Cleveland took over the Lynchburg affiliation in 2015. Chang joins Bobby Bradley (2019), Aaron Civale (2019), Zach Plesac (2019), Eric Haase (2018), Shane Bieber (2018), Bradley Zimmer (2017), Greg Allen (2017), Francisco Mejia (2017), Perci Garner (2016) and Adam Plutko (2016) to play for the Indians at the big league level.
Lynchburg continues its homestand on Saturday against the Down East Wood Ducks in the third game of a four-game set. Reid Anderson (3-4, 4.02) will toe the rubber for the Woodies while the Hillcats will counter with right-hander Cody Morris (1-0, 6.75) in his second start of his Carolina League career. First pitch will come at 6 p.m.
Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 5:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
Weekend highlights include Sparking Saturday and Sandlot Sunday. Saturday’s game will include post-game fireworks show presented by Central Virginia Sports Commission. Sunday is post-game kids run the bases.