Archive for the 'Taiwan' Category

Po-Jung Wang Goes Deep for First Time in 2020

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Po-Jung Wang had two incredible season in the CPBL, where he hit where he hit over .400 and slugged 60 homeruns in those two seasons with the LaMiga Monkeys. In 2016 he became the first CPBL player to record 200 hits in one season. His fourth season with the Monkeys he slumped to a .351 average with only 17 homeruns, but by that time it was rumored that he was either going to Japan or the major leagues. After the 2018 season he became the first player from Taiwan to be posted to a foreign league.

The Nippon Ham Fighters won the bidding war, signing him to a three year four million dollar contract. After all the hype his first year in the NPB was a big disappointment, though injuries could have led to his downfall. He missed time in May and July to injuries and after a decent start he finished with just a .255 average and three homeruns in 88 games. The biggest slugger from Taiwan could only slug at a .327 clip in Japan and he was not a star on the defensive front in the outfield.

The 2020 season has not increased the hype. Japan has a limit of four foreign players on the roster maximum. They began the season with Christian Villanueva as their big foreign bat, but he has failed to produce (.239/.326/.333). On the pitching side they have Drew Verhagen and Nick Martinez, but neither of them are producing super star numbers. That should have left plenty of opportunity for Wang to show that he belongs.

He hasn’t, hitting just .194/.239/257 in his first 40 games. In the farm leagues he was dominate in eight games, hitting .684/.741/.947 with 13 hits in 19 at bats. Of those 13 hits just three went for extra bases, but those are still some pretty impressive stats. It showed what he is capable of, if given a chance. Yesterday he hit his first 2020 homerun.

The Fighters are still not out of the 2020 pennant race. But only two teams and just one wild card, instead of two wild cards, will advance to the playoffs in the Pacific League. With about 33 games left in the season the Fighters find themselves 7.5 games out of the playoff race. After this season Wang only has one more year on his contract. The Fighters might as well play him to see what he could possibly give them in his last year of his contract, the 2021 season.

Wang Signs 5 Year Contract with Dragons

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Ex-Major League and KBO pitcher Wang Wei-Ching signed a five year $2.08 million contract with the Wei Chaun Dragons of the China Professional Baseball League (CPBL). Though he has not had success as a major league or KBO pitcher it still did not stop the Dragons from making him their top pick in the CPBL draft.

Wang pitched for the 2004 Taiwan Little League World Series team. Instead of playing in the CPBL he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and then was a Rule V pick up by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013. He made his major league debut with the Brewers in 2014.

He did not have a lot of success in the major leagues, finishing with a 6.52 career ERA. After being released by the Brewers in early 2018 he tried his luck in the KBO with the NC Dinos. That did not turn out as well either with a 7-10 record and a 4.26 ERA in 25 starts. He tried to make his return to the major leagues in 2019, pitching first for the Oakland Athletics and next for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates released him at the end of the 2019 season.

Wang expressed an interest in returning to Taiwan to play baseball and the Dragons selected him as the first pick in the 2020 draft. Scott Boras was his negotiating agent. The $2.08 million is one of the largest contracts in CPBL history. Leave it to Boras to accomplish that. It also has an escape clause that allows the Dragons to release Wang from the contract after three years if he has an opportunity to pitch for an overseas team using the CPBL posting system.

Chen Returns to Japan

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Chen Wei-Yen appears to be returning to Japan. According to he has signed a contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Marines are still battling for the second playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The contract is for $290,000 for the last two months of the NPB season.

Chen originally pitched for the Chunichi Dragons from 2004 to 2011. In 2012 he became eligible for free agency and jumped to the Baltimore Orioles where he had a number of successful seasons with them. In his first season he finished fourth in the rookie of the year balloting. After becoming a free agent after the 2015 season he signed a large contract (5 years $80 million) with the Miami (Florida) Marlins and bombed after that. Despite owing him $22 million this year the Marlins released him after the 2019 season.

The Mariners signed him to a minor league contract for the 2020 season but he was ultimately released. It will be interesting to see if he has anything left in the tank to get the Marines into the playoffs. Chen has never had a lot of juice in his fastball, but relies on command to locate his pitches. That command has disappeared over time.

Monkeys May Miss the CPBL Playoffs

Friday, August 28th, 2020

When the team was called the LaMiga Monkeys they won the CPBL championship in five of their last six years. In 2016 the team failed to make the playoffs. With their new name and ownership group Rakuten, the Monkeys may not make the playoffs in 2020. After a fast start to the season the Monkeys finished second to the China Trust Brothers in the first half. In the second half they find themselves in last place.

In the CPBL they run two seasons. The winner of the first half and the winner of the second half play each in the playoffs. If a team wins both halves then the team with the second and third best record qualify for the playoffs, with the winner playing the team that won both halves. A team can also make the playoffs as a wild card team if they have an overall better record than the first and second half winners.

At this point, the Rakuten Monkeys would not make the playoffs. This would be a disappointment to the new ownership group that recently purchased the team, especially considering the success they have had the last six years.

Manny Ramirez Rumors to New Zealand

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

The Australian Baseball League (ABL) has renewed their agreement with major league baseball signing a three year agreement. It appears they also maybe making a splash with some interesting signing rumors.

There is some buzz that Manny Ramirez may sign with the Auckland Tuatara, an expansion team to the ABL for the 2018/2019 season. This signing, or even rumor of signing could be enough to sell some tickets. This would be for the 2020/2021 season if the corona virus allows for a season to be played.

In their second season in the ABL Auckland won the Northeast Division with a 21-18 record. The Melbourne Aces eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs.

There was recent news that Manny wanted to return to Taiwan to play baseball. The Taiwan rosters were filled and teams normally focus on foreign pitchers and not hitters. Ramirez did play half a season in Taiwan a number of years ago. It is still possible he could sign with the CPBL expansion team the Wei Chuan Dragons, but that is only conjecture on myworld’s part. If the Dragons wanted to attract attendance for the inaugural season a Ramirez signing could give them that.

A First in the CPBL

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

It is difficult to find a first in the major leagues. They have been around so long that everything that can be done has happened. The CPBL is only 31 years old. So there are still some firsts that they can record in their record books. And they had a big one yesterday.

Kao Kuo-Hui hit a walk off pinch hit homerun for the Fubon Guardians to give them a 10-6 win over the Rakuten Monkeys last night. According to there have been 290 grand slams in the CPBL, but until last night, none of them have been walk offs.

In the second half standings the Guardians are now 6-7, putting them in third place. The Uni Lions have shot up to the top spot with a 9-5 record. Holding the last spot in the standings is the first half winner, the China Trust Brothers at 6-9. It is still early and the Brothers started off slowly last year.

Major League Baseball and the Corona Virus

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

It seems major league baseball has been hit with a number of positive tests for the corona virus. In Asia, in the NPB, the KBO and the CPBL I am not aware of one positive case. I can’t say whether they are testing daily or not but they have yet to have a postponement because of the corona virus. The major leagues seem to be having a number of postponements and their season just got started.

Makes you wonder about the United States efforts and ability to contain the virus. If there is a case in Asia everything shuts down as they contact trace. In the United States myworld wonders if they even bother trying to contact trace. In many cases, by the time you get a result seven days or more has passed and contact tracing becomes irrelevant. At least the major leagues has the ability to get results back in a day or two, but they have been getting so many positive results back that it makes continuing the season difficult. That requires quarantine for any player the positive case came in contact with, which is usually the whole team.

Myworld is not aware of any instance where an Asian player in the NPB, the KBO or the CPBL had a test come back positive and the player had to be put on the disabled list. The NPB had there season delayed because players tested positive, but once the season has started no positive tests have been reported.

Myworld wonders how the major leagues can complete the season with so many positive tests occurring after the season has started.

Wang Number One Pick in the CPBL Draft

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Former major leaguer Wang Wei-Chung was the first player selected in the China Professional Baseball League (CPBL) draft by the expansion team Wei Chuan Dragons. The 28 year old left handed pitcher got his major league opportunity as a Rule V pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013. He made his major league debut in 2014.

It took him another three years to return to the major leagues. After a second season with an ERA in double digits Wang signed a contract with the NC Dinos of the KBO for the 2018 season, becoming the first Taiwanese player to wear a KBO uniform. His KBO season was fairly successful, getting 25 starts, allowing him the opportunity to return to the major leagues for the 2019 season.

For 2020 Wang expressed his interest to be eligible for the CPBL draft. Wang pitched for the 2004 Taiwan Little League World Series team. He becomes the first left handed pitcher selected as the first pick in the draft.

Because the Dragons are not playing in the CPBL this year it is possible that they may trade Wang to an established team seeking a playoff run and obtain a number of prospects in return. Don’t know if there are any restrictions that prevent Wang from playing for a team in the 2020 season.

Brothers Win First Half

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

In the China Professional Baseball League (CPBL) the Rakuten Monkeys appeared as if they were going to run away with the first half. They are the defending champions and have won three straight Taiwan series and five out of the last six. Despite the fast start the China Trust Brothers caught up to them and won the first half.

The Brothers and Monkeys were the two best hitting teams in the CPBL, with the Brothers averaging 6.93 runs per game while the Monkeys averaged 6.77. It was the pitching that won the first half for the Brothers with a league leading 4.36 ERA while the Monkeys were second but far behind at 5.80. In the win/loss department the Brothers were 36-23 while the Monkeys were three games behind at 33-25.

The Uni-President Lions were far behind in third (26-34) while the Fubon Guardians filled last place (22-34). The Brothers have punched their ticket to the playoffs. The second half will be played and the winner of the second half will qualify for the playoffs. If the Brothers win the second half then the two teams with the second and third best record will play a best of five series, with the winner playing the Brothers in a best of seven. If a team other than the Brothers wins the second half, then the team with the best record gets a bye and the other team plays the team with the best record that did not make the playoffs in a best of five.

Lions Power Evident Against Monkeys

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Even though the Uni-President Lions are third in the CPBL, they are first in power. That was evident when they ripped the Rakuten Monkeys 21-5. Lin An-Ko was the big bat driving in seven runs with his two homeruns. He now has 16 homeruns on the season, second to teammate Su Chih-Chieh who has 18. Lin though is the RBI leader in the CPBL with 58.

The loss knocked the Monkeys into second place with the China Trust Brothers 6-3 win over the Fubon Guardians. The Monkeys and the Brothers have been leapfrogging each other over the last couple weeks. With only a half game separating the two, when one wins and the other loses the first place lead is exchanged.

There were 6,500 fans who saw their home team Monkeys lose to the Lions. The Brothers won in front of 9,100. S big crowds are coming out to watch baseball.

The Lions lead the CPBL in homeruns with 72. The Monkeys are second with 65. Li Lin surpassed his slumping teammate Zhu Yu-Xian, who has been stuck on 12. Zhu has also seen his batting average drop to .358. The Monkeys have had trouble winning since the bat of Zhu has gone quiet.