CPBL Starting Pitcher Ranks: ING

Bryan Woodall (left) and Zeke Spruill lead the pack in the newest ING rankings.
The Oliver Photo 

Last week we introduced ING rankings as a way to evaluate CPBL starting pitchers. With another two weeks of data, let's dig into the numbers.

First, let’s look at one example of how judging performances just on ERA alone can be shortsighted. From the two examples in the chart, one pitcher is 5-3 with the league's fourth-best ERA at a very respectable 3.57, while the other is 2-5 with a 5.68 ERA, putting him 14th among 19 qualified pitchers.

Is it clearly evident which pitcher is enjoying success while the other is reportedly fighting to maintain his roster position?


So what is ING?

(League AVG pitches per inning / pitches per inning) X (GO/FO + innings pitched per start)

FIP = ((HRx13) + (BB + HBP) x 3) - (K x 2) / IP) + 3.2 (league constant)

This new formula rewards pitchers who go deep, get ground balls, keep the ball in the park and don’t walk people, all while being as efficient as possible with their pitch count and hopefully keeping unpredictable CPBL bullpens off the field. Bigger is better with ING.

Let’s look at some historical numbers for comparison:

2014 Clayton Kershaw LAD MLB (5.56 ING)
21-3, 1.77 ERA and Cy Young

2015 Mike Loree EDA Rhinos CPBL  (2.99 ING)
16-5, 3.26 ERA and pitcher of the year

2016 Mike Loree EDA Rhinos CPBL (2.07 ING)
13-11, 3.98 ERA and pitcher of the year

2016 Andy Sisco Brothers CPBL (1.12 ING)
3-4, 7.55 ERA (4.30 FIP) *released

ING >3.3= Won't be pitching in Taiwan for much longer as he’ll likely get bought by an NPB or KBO squad.

ING 2.6- 3.3 = Solid pitchers to top-end talent.

ING 1.7 - 2.6 = Above average to solid pitchers.

ING 1.1 - 1.7 = Back-of-the-rotation material to an average starting pitcher.

ING <1.1 = 

Without further ado, I give you the CPBL starting pitching rankings, using ING as the main indicator of value.

(min. 25 IP and/or 5 GS)


Chinatrust Brothers No. 5 Bryan Woodall (4.85 ING)๐Ÿ”ฅ⤴

Fubon Guardians No. 39 Mike Loree (4.38 ING)

Lamigo Monkeys No. 74 Zeke Spruill (3.41 ING)๐Ÿ”ฅ⤴

Although many will disagree with this ranking, Brothers ace Bryan Woodall is in the top spot in this ING ranking. The blue-collared right-hander has won six straight games, thanks in part to his league-leading 2.34 FIP. Amazingly, Woodall has allowed just a pair of walks over his 56 frames and served up only a single home run. His ING is also high due to the fact that his GO/AO is 2.47 whereas the league average is 1.15. Add in the fact that he is going seven innings per start and the 30-year-old pitcher is doing his job, sans the hype.

Mike Loree had 11 days off between his fourth and fifth starts of the year, so his sample size is a little smaller than the rest. However, the reigning pitcher of the year has dominated in four of his five starts to date: 24 IP, 17 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 33 K. The Guardians are 6-13-1 since Loree came back from injury and Iron Mike is 3-1 through five games.

If you said Zeke Spruill is the best pitcher in the CPBL, you would have literally no arguments. His ERA and WHIP stand at a league-best 1.03—yes, that is for both stats—and he is tied for the league lead in wins (6) and strikeouts (58). Hitters have still not made adjustments to the righty as his H/9 sits at 6.36, and when guys do make contact they are hitting just .271 on balls in play. His ERA+ of 480 is exponentially better than his competition. He has given up zero earned runs in five of his eight starts but has pitched into the seventh just twice.

Bruce Kern (right) congratulating teammate Bryan Woodall earlier this year.
The Oliver Photo 


Lamigo Monkeys No. 33 Darin Downs (3.20 ING)⤴

Chinatrust Brothers No. 38 Bruce Kern III (3.12 ING)⤴

Much like his Monkeys teammate Zeke Spruill, Darin Downs has dazzled so far in 2017. His flawless 5-0 record has helped put the Monkeys on top of the CPBL standings as Downs has become the league's best left-hander. He has pitched into the sixth inning or later in all of his eight starts while allowing less than three runs in six of them. He has a 9.48 K/9 while right-handed hitters are hitting a mere .210 off the southpaw (LHH. 276). Conversely, Downs has pitched into the seventh inning just once this year.

Brothers’ Bruce Kern is a pitcher where conventional numbers don't tell his story. His 4.34 ERA isn't flashy (league average is 4.94) but he does things that score him big points with his coaching staff and in the ING metric. He goes deep into games (more than 6.0 innings in five of his seven starts), minimizes walks (3 in last 26.1 IP), and keeps the ball on the ground at an alarming rate (3.5 GO/AO), more than three times the league average. Considering the lack of speed of his infield, that is quite the accomplishment. He has even neutralized the long ball (5 HR in first 23.1 IP vs. 0 HR over last 14.1 IP).

Darin Downs has cemented himself as the league's top left-hander more than a quarter of the way into the season.
The Oliver Photo 

Tier 3  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Chinatrust Brothers No 78 Orlando Roman (2.34 ING)

Chinatrust Brothers No. 19 Cheng Kai-Wen (2.23 ING)⤴

Lamigo Monkeys No. 40 Zack Segovia (2.17 ING)

Uni Lions No. 26 Bruce Billings (2.16 ING)

Uni Lions No. 44 Alfredo Figaro (1.83 ING)

Lamigo Monkeys No. 32 Wang Yi-Cheng (1.80 ING)๐Ÿ”ฅ⤴

Orlando Roman followed a 110-pitch complete game with a 115-pitch, 5.2-inning loss. The former Monkey has put together four good starts versus two bad. His BABIP is really high at .375, third-worst in the league.

Cheng Kai-Wen comes in as the top local pitcher on the ING rankings. In his last three starts, Cheng has used just 290 pitches while averaging over 6.1 innings. He also hasn't served up a home run over that three-game stretch.

Zack Segovia sees his ranking fall due to a tough four-inning outing in Taichung and two home runs over his last two starts. Segovia has earned back-to-back quality starts though and could have gone longer than six innings in his last outing, but his team was leading comfortably. The consistent right-hander sits fourth in ERA (3.57), is tied for second in wins (5), and is fourth in the league in strikeouts (42).

With talks of management making a change, Lions’ Bruce Billings put in his best outing of the season on Friday. The second-year pitcher will be hoping to string some quality starts together and improve on his 2-5 record. His FIP of 2.96 ranks him fifth in the league, while right-handed hitters are hitting just .237.

Alfredo Figaro had two tough starts versus the Monkeys that saw his ING go from 2.29 to 1.83. He is struggling to find consistency and has been victimized by crooked-number innings.

Monkeys’ Wang Yi-Cheng is a big riser halfway through May. Back-to-back-to-back seven-inning starts has put the lefty back on track. He hasn't allowed a homer in over three starts and walked just four in his most recent 21 frames.

Tier 4  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Fubon Guardians No. 38 Huang Yi-Chih (1.24)

Fubon Guardians No. 44 Scott Richmond  (1.16)

Huang Yi-Chih isn't doing himself any favors by allowing at least one home run in each of his six starts—seven in total. To make matters worse, he has just 19 strikeouts over 33.2 innings and has walked 17. The odd thing is that his BABIP is under .290.

Richmond has sandwiched two good starts between a rocky one since his return to the rotation, his latest being his best of the season: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6 K,4 BB, 0 HR.

Tier 5  ๐ŸŒŸ

Uni Lions No. 15 Chiang Chen-Yen (1.02)

Fubon Guardians No. 23 Chris Seddon (0.97)


  1. The Lions organization is talking about getting a new batch of import pitchers. So I guess tier 3 or below won't cut it...

  2. Billings performance yesterday was top shelf. I really hope they keep Bruce. Figaro has great stuff, too.

    The team is losing so they need to point fingers.

    This ranking is actually to show that guys like Billings aren't what their numbers indicate. There is more to pitching than just ERA.


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