Lamigo Monkeys' Wang Po Jung Is on a Path to Stardom

If you’re a baseball fan outside of Taiwan, chances are you’ve never heard of Wang Po Jung (王柏融). If you have, you probably only know him as the “bat-flipping maniac” as Deadspin recently dubbed him. While he does have one of the finest bat flips in all of baseball, he’s also one of the best young position players that this small island nation has ever produced. He’s a superstar in the making and a name that baseball fans around the world need to know.

Wang plays for the Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan, where, as a rookie, he’s doing some pretty amazing things in a talented league made up mostly of veterans and ex-MLBers.

Take this as a starter: At the end of the 2015 season, before even qualifying as a rookie, he hit nine home runs in 111 at-bats. He then proceeded to break a CPBL playoff record with 14 hits in a seven-game series, helping lead the Monkeys to the Taiwan Series and taking home the award for the most outstanding player of the playoffs.

This all happened in his first two months as a professional baseball player.

It’s time for the baseball world to meet Wang Po Jung, and what better way to introduce him than to let the native of Pingtung, Taiwan, tell you who he models his game after.

“Bryce Harper,” he said confidently through a translator before a game in June. “We’re both outfielders and left-handed hitters. Mike Trout, too, though he’s right-handed.”

It might seem outlandish, but to call Wang Po Jung the Bryce Harper of the CPBL wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. Besides the comparisons Wang made, they’re both roughly the same age and both put up ridiculous offensive numbers.

Before we go too far with superlatives and crazy stats, let’s rewind and take a look at how a 22-year-old earned the nickname “King Po Jung” before even playing an entire professional baseball season.

Wang was a standout hitter at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, hitting .425 in his senior season. But he really burst onto the scene and became a household name in Taiwan at the 2014 21U Baseball World Cup in Taichung, where, as a 19-year-old, he hit .457 in 35 at-bats, leading Chinese Taipei to the title on home soil.

“The 21U was an awesome experience,” Wang said. “I felt I grew up a lot during the tournament. The international games were a good experience for me.”

Wang garnered a fair amount of international interest after his performance at the 21U World Cup, receiving offers from major league teams and clubs from Japan’s NPB. He decided, however, to stay in Taiwan and declare for the CPBL draft.

“I didn’t get a good enough contract offer,” he answered honestly about playing overseas. “So I decided to stay in the CPBL and maybe I’ll have the chance to go abroad in the future.”

The Lamigo Monkeys were the biggest winners in Wang’s decision to stay in Taiwan as they were able to snag him with the fourth overall pick in 2015. The Monkeys knew they had someone special on their hands and gave him an NT$5 million signing bonus, tied for the most ever given to a rookie position player. It was a big investment but one that has already paid off.

Wang debuted for the Monkeys on September 2 of last season and started crushing CPBL pitching that very day, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. He would hit his first professional home run two days later.

The remarkable start to his professional career didn’t go unnoticed as Wang was named a starter on the Chinese Taipei national team for the WBSC Premier12 in November. Playing against the best players in the world who aren’t on an MLB 40-man roster, the 22-year-old went out and hit .444 in 18 at-bats with a home run (followed by one of the biggest bat flips you’ll ever see), four RBI, two runs and a stolen base.

It has been more of the same in 2016 for Wang. Through 58 games, he leads the league in hits (99), average (.401) and stolen bases (13). He’s also second in total bases (154), second in runs scored (59) and second in on-base percentage (.464).

Keep in mind that he’s 22 years old and that you can’t find another player younger than 28 in the top five of any offensive category in the CPBL.

There really aren’t any holes in his game. Think you can get him out with a tough lefty? Nope—he’s hitting .373 with a .627 slugging percentage against southpaws. Maybe he’s a liability defensively? Wrong again—he chases down almost everything hit his way and has a .982 fielding percentage over his brief CPBL career.

It certainly seems as if Wang has the talent to move on to bigger and better leagues than the CPBL. Contractually, he’s assured to be with the Lamigo Monkeys until the end of the 2017 season, but after that, he can file for international free agency.

Maybe he’ll head to North America in hopes of being the next Taiwanese superstar in the MLB. Taiwan has seen a couple of its pitchers, notably Wang Chien Ming and Chen Wei Yin, succeed in the States, but no position player has really made a mark yet.  

But if you ask Wang, it sounds more likely that he’ll follow in the footsteps of Nippon-Ham Fighters center fielder and countrymate Yang Dai Kang.

“My dream is to play in Japan,” he said when asked about playing abroad in the future.

There’s no doubt that Wang Po Jung has a bright professional career ahead of him, wherever he may end up. He’s already a star in Taiwan and will surely receive offers to play in North America or Japan when he’s eligible. For the time being, however, he will continue crushing CPBL pitchers and bat flipping his way onto highlight reels.

And about the flip that is quickly becoming his signature move?

“I don’t practice it. I don’t do it on purpose. It’s just natural.”

The Oliver Photo


  1. Its racist and unfair, but in the US there is often suspicion that the age of a Taiwanese player may not be true. Any suspicion surrounding Wang Po Jung?

  2. No, none at all. I think Taiwan got caught lying about age at the LLWS in the early 1970s, but that was a long time ago. And other countries (including the USA) have been caught doing the same since. But no, there's no reason whatsoever to doubt his age.

  3. As far as I know, there's no precedent of Taiwanese players lowballing their ages, cheating overseas' ball clubs to get better contracts or signing bonuses at professional level.
    And Brandon is right, Taiwanese kids used to do so, that's why they had so many LLB championships in Williamsport back then haha

  4. Hi Brandon,
    I write a blog about baseball over at and believe it or not, I have been meaning to write a piece on Po Jung Wang for a while but never got the shot. Obviously I don't have the connections and info you do in the CPBL (I live in the states), so would it be okay with you if I reposted this piece on my blog and give you credit? Its great to know someone shares my fandom of this stud.
    Thanks, Johnnie

    1. Hey Johnnie,
      Sure! Just link back to the original article, please!

    2. Done! Check it out if you'd like to make sure everything is okay with you.


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