NANJING, May 16 (Xinhua) -- A U18 national team player has signed a contract with Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates here on Tuesday.
Gong Haicheng was of a few Chinese youngsters recruited into MLB development centers in Changzhou and Nanjing right out of grade six. Currently the most valuable pitcher for China's U18 team, Gong represented the team at the World Baseball Championship earlier this March.
Gong became the second player to sign with an MLB club from the league's development centers in China. Xu Guiyuan, a two-time China National Youth Baseball League MVP, made history as the then 19-year-old outfielder/baseman inked a deal with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015.
"MLB development centers are promoting the sport in over 100 primary schools in China and we have core facilities set up in Wuxi, Changzhou, and Nanjing. Gong's performance has been of our very best, and we wish to see more like him in the near future," said MLB China senior director Wang Peng.
The current three facilities include 80 players in total.