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CPBL: Eight Players To Watch As the All-Star Games Approach

 Leif Skodnick  |    Jul 28th, 2023 10:23am EDT

An-Ko Lin of Uni-Lions hit a solo homerun at the bottom of the first inning during the CPBL game between Rakuten Monkeys and Uni-Lions at the Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium on April 26, 2020 in Tainan, Taiwan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

The Chinese Professional Baseball League played its inaugural season in 1990, and 2023 is the 34th season in league history. 

The 2023 CPBL All-Star Games will be held on July 29 and 30 at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, home of the CTBC Brothers. Ahead of the CPBL All-Star Games, let’s look at eight top-performing players in the first half of the season.

Logan Ondrusek – SP, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions 

Starting pitcher Logan Ondrusek is a former Major Leaguer, having played five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and one with the Baltimore Orioles. The 38-year-old made his CPBL debut with the Lions in 2022 and leads all pitchers with a 2.35 ERA in 13 starts and one appearance out of the bullpen this season. In 84.1 innings, the right-hander has 73 strikeouts and 63 hits allowed. Ondrusek allowed 82 hits in 82 innings pitched last season. Although his hits allowed per nine innings is down significantly, Ondrusek’s walk rate has risen. He has walked 22 in 2023 compared to 12 all year in 2022. Ondrusek should be a key pitcher in the second half of the season for the Lions, who’re  looking to win their first Taiwan Series championship since 2020. 

An-Ko Lin – RF, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions 

An-Ko Lin is tied with Chien Fu Liao of the Rakuten Monkeys for the league lead in home runs with 13, and has 27 RBI and a .944 OPS in 43 games played. The 26-year-old was named the 2020 CPBL Rookie of the Year, hitting 32 home runs with 99 RBI and led the Lions to the 2020 Taiwan Series championship. Lin has shown flashes of speed on the basepaths, swiping 17 bags in 2021. He has stolen one base thus far in 2023. Lin’s batting average is currently .275, although his career-high batting average is .310 in 2020. Lin is of Taiwanese-Argentinian ancestry; his father is from Taiwan and his mother is from Argentina. 

Jose De Paula – SP, CTBC Brothers 

Jose De Paula is a starting pitcher for the CTBC Brothers, and appeared in one game for the New York Yankees in 2015. He spent the majority of his career in the United States in the minor leagues in the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, and New York Yankees organizations. De Paula made his CPBL debut with the CTBC Brothers in 2020, and has been a reliable starter for the organization. In 104 innings in 2023, De Paula has a 3.12 ERA and 81 strikeouts. The left-handed pitcher holds a win-loss record of 7-4 in 16 starts this season, and owns a career 53-21 win-loss record with the Brothers. De Paula has prior pitching experience in Liga Mexicana De Béisbol and the Baseball Challenge League, an independent minor league baseball in Japan. 

Chi-hao Chang – CF, CTBC Brothers 

Chi-hao Chang is a center fielder for the CTBC Brothers and made his CPBL debut in 2010 with the Brothers. He was awarded Batter of the Month in June, hitting at a

.275 clip with six home runs and a 1.062 OPS. Chang has hit nine home runs and owns a .794 OPS in 56 games this season. The best statistical season of his career came in 2017 with the Chinatrust Brothers, batting .300 with 24 home runs. Chang is a three-time Taiwan Series champion (2010, 2021, 2022), and was the CPBL home run champion in 2018 with 22 homers. The 36-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery late into the 2021 season, but still managed to play 42 games during the 2022 season. 

Tsung-Hsien Lee – SS, Fubon Guardians 

Tsung-Hsien Lee is a shortstop for the Fubon Guardians, and made his CPBL debut with the EDA Rhinos in 2016. Lee has only hit one home run in 2023, but leads the CPBL in batting average (.341). Lee’s best attributes are his speed and high contact rate. He has stolen 78 career bases in 101 attempts, and has struck out 24 times in 216 plate appearances. Lee currently has a career-high .826 OPS in 57 games in 2023. Lee hit .521 in the 2011 Asian Junior Championship for the Taiwanese national team, and .333 in the 2012 World Junior Championship. He will need to continue his exceptional play if the Fubon Guardians (26-4-39) want to make a run this season. 

Andrew Miles Gagnon – SP, Wei Chuan Dragons 

Andrew Miles Gagnon is a starting pitcher for the Wei Chuan Dragons and made his CPBL debut in 2021 with the Dragons. Gagnon appeared in 23 games for the New York Mets from 2018 and 2019, and spent one season in the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League with the Kia Tigers. Gagnon owns a 3.07 ERA in 17 starts in 2023, and leads CPBL pitchers with nine wins. Gagon had a CPBL career-high 150 strikeouts in 2022, and had 96 strikeouts in 102.1 innings in 2023. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, but elected to play college baseball at Long Beach State University. 

Chien-Fu Liao – C, Rakuten Monkeys 

Chien-Fu Liao is a catcher for the Rakuten Monkeys and made his CPBL debut with the Lamigo Monkeys in 2017. Liao is tied with An-Ko Lin for the CPBL lead with 13 home runs. Liao’s other statistics on the season include 48 RBI, a .336 batting average, and a .971 OPS. The 24-year-old has hit his 13 home runs in 61 games played in 2023. His previous career-high home run total was 10 home runs in 2018 and 2020. Like Tsung-Hsien Lee, Liao does not strike out at a high rate, and draws plenty of walks. He has struck out 29 times and walked 22 times in 242 plate appearances in 2023. 

Jyun-Yue Tseng – RP, Fubon Guardians 

Jyun-Yue Tseng is a relief pitcher for the Fubon Guardians and made his CPBL debut with the Guardians in 2021. The 21-year-old has recorded 12 saves in 2023 and has 44 in his career. Tseng has a 1.14 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. He became the Guardians full time closer in the middle of the 2021 season after original closer Hung-Wen Chen moved to the starting rotation. He holds a 2.04 career ERA and 160 strikeouts in 137 innings. It was reported by CPBLStats.Com on June 7 that multiple Nippon Professional Baseball Pacific League teams will be interested in the closer’s services going into the 2024 season.