Scott Richmond is a Model of Consistency for the Fubon Guardians

Bill Thompson, Contributor

There were few bright spots for Taiwan coming out of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. It’s almost fitting that one of the few exemplary representatives of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) didn’t come from Taiwan, but rather, he suited up for Canada. The soft-throwing right-hander from North Vancouver only made it into one game for the Canadian squad, but he managed to stem the rising tide of an American onslaught the Canadians were enduring. Richmond did it in his usual fashion, pitching to contact, and not making a single wave as he controlled the mighty bats of the American squad.
Richmond came to the CPBL for the 2016 season. He tossed the rock all season long for the now-defunct EDA Rhinos. The Canuck helped to guide his team to a Taiwan Series championship in its final season and has returned for the 2017 season with the team now known as the Fubon Guardians. Richmond was the picture of consistency in his first season in the CPBL. Every outing one knew what they were going to get from the lanky starter, and lo and behold, they almost always got exactly what they were expecting. There’s little doubt that Richmond helped his skipper, Yeh Chung-Chang, to find a few more restful nights.
In an incredibly hitter-friendly league, Richmond managed to post some respectable stats in 2016. He was above the league average across the board, and in certain categories was well above. His ERA+ of 124.63 was over 24 points higher than the league average. The Canadian stalwart also produced a respectable WHIP of 1.43 and an even more respectable FIP of 4.45. Respectable is the key word because Richmond’s numbers won’t knock your socks off. But, when viewed as part of the larger picture they tell the story of a man who was as dependable as they come every time he was given the ball.

Scott Richmond of the 2016 EDA Rhinos, now
the Fubon Guardians.
Photo credit: Now News

After his successful 2016 CPBL season, Richmond found himself once again named to the Team Canada roster for the World Baseball Classic. Twice previously Richmond had represented his home country in the WBC, and twice he had failed to find the rubber. For Richmond, pride in his country trumped all.
As he told CPBL English Co-founder Josh Inglis recently, “I always feel honored to represent my country especially at the biggest international tournament in the world.” That sort of grasp of the bigger panorama is why Richmond has been a clubhouse favorite at every stop in his career.
This time Richmond found his way to that rubber. He came into a game that was already slipping away and he found himself staring straight at the heart of the hefty American lineup. What followed next was a Canadian representative of the CPBL sitting down said American bats for two innings. It was only two innings, but Richmond gave up one hit and no more. Perhaps it’s because Richmond doesn’t find himself fazed by the global stage that is the WBC.
“It was great to get out there and compete against the best in the world and represent my country well!”
Going up against one of the greatest lineups ever constructed, and all Richmond wanted to do was what he always does, compete. Perhaps Richmond’s stellar WBC performance will propel him to even greater heights this upcoming CPBL season, but. Richmond doesn’t agree.
“My job is to compete and that's what I do every time I step on the mound!  Regardless of where or who it's against.”

There’s a lot of humility in that response, and I don’t begrudge Richmond for that humility for a second. Still, there’s no way Richmond won’t build off of his terrific WBC performance. It was an emotion-filled performance, one that he certainly can, and will, build upon as he looks to be just as consistent as ever for the Guardians in 2017.
When asked about his role in this year’s WBC, Richmond is his usual reserved self. He doesn’t lament not getting a starting nod, or only pitching in one game. Rather, he tells me he is happy to pitch wherever he is needed. Be that as it may, I can’t help but think that Canada would have been more competitive had they gone with Richmond as a starter. He’s certainly earned such a shot with his play for the Rhinos and his years of service to his national team.
With the WBC now over, and Canada long eliminated, the 2017 CPBL season is on Richmond’s mind now. He’s a defending champion, and he’s very much looking forward to the 2017 season.
“I want to be competitive and contribute to lots of team wins!  We have a great mix of veterans and young players in the clubhouse and are defending champions, so collectively we're expecting big things!”

The Guardians are just as good, if not better than they were as the Rhinos in 2016. They need to stay healthy, and that is always a big issue for any team, but with Richmond helping to anchor the rotation it’s hard to imagine them not making a run at repeating their 2016 success.
No matter what happens in the 2017 CPBL season, there’s one thing I feel confident in declaring with the utmost certainty: Scott Richmond will take the mound and he will be the Scott Richmond that he has been year in and year out for his entire 12-year career. He’s not going to overwhelm many batters, nor will he wow with flash. What Richmond will do is work over hitters on a nightly basis as he manages to keep his team in every game. Good ole No. 44 will do his best to make sure the Guardians are in contention to the very end, and really, what more could a team want from a starting pitcher?
Statistical research provided by Rob Liu of