Christian Lim paves a path for Asian American baseball players

Christian Lim has taken on an impressive freshman campaign with Stanford baseball. Lim has been a steady arm for the Cardinal, winning Pac-12 pitcher of the week twice already in his first year. But beyond his pitching excellence, Lim’s journey carries a deeper significance, shedding light on the underrepresentation of Asian Americans in baseball and paving a path for future generations.

Lim reflected on his experiences of being “the Asian kid” on the baseball field and in school. Despite the scarcity of peers on the pitch who looked like him, Lim said he found strength and inspiration through the successes of Asian players on the professional stage, like Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani.

“Even seeing Korean players or Asian players in general was great,” Lim said. He raised Ichiro Suzuki, Shin-Soo Choo and Shohei Ohtani as examples. They made “such a big impact on baseball as Asians, even though they’re not Asian Americans,” Lim said.

“Just the fact that someone who looks like me was having so much success at the biggest stage really helped me find inspiration when I was growing up.”

Drawing from his own journey, Lim expressed the significance of Asian American representation in baseball. He emphasized its importance towards creating a more visible and inclusive playing field.

He noted the excitement surrounding the arrival of Rintaro Sasaki, a highly touted Japanese recruit slated to join the Stanford program next season. It would dramatically impact both the team and the broader Asian American community, Lim said.

“We all knew that this kid was the best recruit to ever come out of Japan and was supposed to be the number one overall pick in the Japanese professional league,” Lim said.  “He joined us at the beginning of spring quarter and he’s been awesome. He’s been really eager to learn English, which he is getting better at every day, and improving his baseball skills.”

As the first Stanford pitcher since 2022 to be named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week multiple times in a season, Lim’s talent and dedication have propelled him to the forefront of collegiate baseball. His teammates have taken notice of his exceptional abilities and mindset, including sophomore pitcher Toran O’Harran. 

He “has been extremely impressive in his ability to slow the game down and make pitches when he needs to. His mentality that he pitches with is his big separator,” O’Harran said. 

Similarly, sophomore pitcher Matt Scott, the leader of the pitching core, praised Lim’s demeanor when on the mound.

“The ability for Christian to stay extremely composed on the mound is something that is very impressive for a freshman,” Scott said.

Yet, amid the achievements and praise, Lim remains grounded: He attributed much of his success to the guidance of his pitching coach, Thomas Eager, whose mentorship has been instrumental in his growth both on and off the field.

“Thomas has helped me grow a tremendous amount since before the start of my freshman season. Even though it’s only been six months, I feel like I’ve grown so much as a pitcher and also as a person,” Lim said.

As he reflected on his freshman campaign, Lim also acknowledged the areas of his game that require refinement.

“There’s some things that have gone well for me that I don’t really feel like I need to address right at this moment,” Lim said. “But the biggest changes that I make are more game to game. For example, this past weekend, I kind of struggled with the location of my fastballs. That’s going to be something that I’m going to work on throughout this week.”

As Lim looks ahead to the future, both on and off the field, he remains committed to serving as a role model and advocate for Asian American athletes. With each pitch he throws and each accolade he earns, he carries with him the hopes and aspirations of a community often overlooked in the baseball world.