If you’re like me, the end of the CPBL season signals a long winter ahead without baseball. For fans in Taiwan (especially those in Taoyuan), that gloomy winter season without baseball can be delayed for another weekend during Chinese Taipei’s three exhibition games in preparation for the 2017 Asia Series between Taiwan, Japan, and Korea’s finest young professional players.
Developing relations and building healthy competition has always been a high priority between the CPBL, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), and Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). Dating back to 2005, numerous series have been played between the three leagues (China Baseball League also participated in the early years) where each league is represented by that year’s champion to determine the champion of Asia. Bragging rights aside, the main purpose of the games is to grow the game of baseball internationally and to cultivate relationships between the leagues.
While championship teams have represented their leagues in the past, this year’s rules are a little different. In an effort to promote and develop each league’s budding stars, only players born after January 1, 1993, or that have less than three years of professional experience, are allowed to be rostered. However, each team also has three wild-card spots, which has no restrictions on who is chosen.
Taiwan’s roster is armed and dangerous. Manager Hung I-Chung (Monkeys) has loaded his roster with the CPBL’s best young players and has taken full advantage of the three wild-card spots. Here is Chinese Taipei’s 25-man roster:
Pitchers: Chen Kuan-Yu (NPB Chiba Lotte Marines, wild card #1), Chen Yu-Hsun (Monkeys, wild card #2), Lin Hua-Ching (Monkeys), Chu Chun-Hsiang (Monkeys), Wang Yao-Lin (Monkeys), Chiu Hao-Chun (Lions), Wang Hung-Cheng (Brothers), Luo Guo-Hwa (Guardians), Peng Shih-Ying (Brothers), and Lin Cheng-Hsien (Guardians)
Catchers: Lin Yu-Le (Lions) and Yen Hung-Chun (Monkeys)
Infielders: Wu Nien-Ting (NPB Seibu Lions), Chen Pin-Chieh (Guardians), Kuo Fu-Lin (Lions), Chen Chieh-Hsien (Lions), Fan Guo-Tsen (Guardians), Lin Li (Monkeys), Lin Cheng-Fei (Monkeys), and Chu Yu-Hsien (Monkeys)
Outfielders: Yang Tai-Kang (NPB Yomiuri Giants, wild card #3), Wang Po-Jung (Monkeys), Chen Chih-Hao (Brothers), Su Chih-Chieh (Lions), and Chan Tzu-Hsien (Brothers)
If it feels like there are a lot of Lamigo Monkeys players that’s because there are, nine in total, including basically the Monkeys' entire bullpen. The starting pitching will be led by Chen Kuan-Yu of the NPB's Chiba Lotte Marines (3-4, 3.29 ERA in 27 games, eight starts) followed by Lin Hua-Ching (6-4, 5.25 ERA) and Lin Cheng-Hsien (3-3, 3.79 ERA). The bullpen, of course, is captained by Monkeys closer Chen Yu-Hsun, who set a single-season record for saves this year with 37.
On the offensive side, how exciting will it be to see a lineup made up of Chen Chieh-Hsien (.387 AVG, 113 R, 17 SB), Wang Po-Jung (.407 AVG, 31 HR, 101 RBI) , Su Chih-Chieh (.351 AVG, 17 HR, 77 RBI), and Chan Tzu-Hsien (.350 AVG, 17 HR 60 RBI), all led by senior statesmen Yang Tai-Kang (.264, 9 HR, 33 RBI, 4 SB in 87 games played)? If things are clicking offensively, watch out! All eyes will be on Wang, who has made clear his intentions of playing abroad, as he faces some of the best arms in Asia.
The Asia Series will be played in Tokyo, Japan from November 16-19. However, the Chinese Taipei team (the name is a little misleading because it’s not really a national team, as you can tell by the team logo and uniform) has invited the Chiba Lotte Marines to play three exhibition games in Taoyuan starting this Friday, November 10 through Sunday, November 12. The Marines are bringing many of their first-team regulars including newly appointed manager and former major leaguer Tadahito Iguchi, Captain Daichi Suzuki, and 2016 Pacific League batting champion Katsuya Kakunaka. Tickets can be purchased the day of or at any Family Mart and are NTD 680 for infield seats and NTD 480 for the outfield. So check out the schedule below and see you at the ballpark! Die-hard fans can check out this website for information about traveling to Japan for the series games.
Asia Series Exhibition Schedule (Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium)
Friday, November 10
Chinese Taipei @ Chiba Lotte
Saturday, November 11
Chiba Lotte @ Chinese Taipei
Sunday, November 12
Chiba Lotte @ Chinese Taipei
*Games televised live on ELEVEN Sports
Asia Series Schedule (Tokyo Dome, Japan)
Game Time (Taiwan time)
Thursday, November 16
Korea @ Japan
Friday, November 17
Chinese Taipei @ Korea
Saturday, November 18
Japan @ Chinese Taipei
Sunday , November 19
#2 seed @ #1 seed
*Games televised live on Formosa Television and ELTA TV