Jason Heyward #22 of the Chicago Cubs bats during a Spring Training game against the Milwaukee Brewers on February 23, 2019 at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo: VCG)
BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Milwaukee Brewers announced the signing of Chinese youngsters Jolon Zhao, Ian Yi and Coco Kou here on Wednesday. This marks the first time a Major League Baseball (MLB) team has three Chinese players contracted at the same time.
"Playing in the Major League is the dream of every baseball player," Zhao said. "Now it's just the beginning, and the next step is to move forward towards my dream."
"We've always focused on global talent development," said Taylor Green, supervisor of the Brewers' scouting department. "In recent years, it is impressive to see numerous young prospects with solid fundamentals and excellent game reading ability emerging in China. In the future, we hope to have more Chinese baseball talents joining us."
All 18 years old, the three will start their careers with the Brewers in the Minor League - Zhao and Yi as pitchers and Kou as an infielder - trying their best to graduate to the Major League in the coming years.
Jim Small, senior vice president of MLB's international business, said he was excited about these signings. "We are so pleased to see more rising stars from China sign with MLB clubs. I hope these teen stars will become ambassadors for the sport's development in China and help more Chinese people know and love the sport."
With the signing of the trio, a total of seven players from the Chinese mainland have now joined MLB teams, all of whom have graduated from development centers the MLB has established in China.
Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Brewers won the National League Central Division last season, before losing the World Series ticket to the Los Angeles Dodgers.