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Hao-Ju ‘Totoro’ Tseng Will Manage Chinese Taipei at 2024 WBSC Premier12

 Matt Tallarini  |    Mar 29th, 2024 3:30pm EDT

Hao-Ju Tseng will manage Chinese Taipei at the 2024 WBSC Premier12. (Photo Courtesy WBSC)

Former Rakuten Monkeys manager in the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, Hao-Ju “Totoro” Tseng was hired by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association to manage the national team at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12 tournament, the event X account reported on March 28. 

Cheng was part of the Chinese Taipei coaching staff during the 2019 Premier12 tournament. Chinese Taipei is  No. 5 in the World Baseball Rankings. 

The rest of the Chinese Taipei coaching staff for the Premier12 has not yet been announced. 

According to the WBSC website, “The Chinese Taipei selection and training committee said it reached a consensus on Tseng in less than five minutes. Charles Yang, the CPBL secretary-general, made the decision public.” 

Tseng, 44, was born in Taichung City, Taiwan, and played 10 seasons in the CPBL with the LA New Bears from 2004-10 and the Lamigo Monkeys from 2011-13. 

Tseng played in 727 games in the CPBL with a carer average of .247 over 2,226 plate appearances, with 494 hits, 118 doubles, 12 triples, 37 home runs, 244 RBI, 21 stolen bases, 191 walks, 377 strikeouts, and a .697 OPS. 

After his final active season as a player in 2013, Tseng was named the Rakuten Monkeys minor league hitting coach, and was promoted to the Rakuten Monkeys CPBL club as their hitting coach in 2015. 

Tseng led the Rakuten Monkeys to the Taiwan Series in 2022, where they were swept by the CTBC Brothers, and again in 2023, when they lost in seven games to the Wei Chuan Dragons. 

Tseng is now the Rakuten Monkeys minor league manager for the 2024 regular season after stepping down after four seasons managing them from 2020-23. His record managing with the Rakuten Monkeys was 245-224-11. 

“Tseng was the only candidate we ever considered,” Charles Yang told the WBSC’s website. “We value his experiences managing and taking the [Monkeys] major league team to [multiple] Taiwan Series, in addition to his past experiences with Chinese Taipei [as hitting coach]. Being the minor league team manager also does give him more room and leverage to work on Chinese Taipei-related matters,” added Yang.

At the 2019 Premier12 event in 2019, Chinese Taipei finished in fifth place with a 4-3 record and went 2-3 in the Super Round, failing to qualify for the medal round. Chinese Taipei ended with the same record as the United States in the Super Round, but did not qualify due to the Total Quality Balance tiebreaker. 

In the first year Premier12 tournament in 2015, Chinese Taipei finished in fifth place with a 2-3 record in Group A on home soil at Douliu Baseball Stadium in Douliu, Taiwan, but did not advance out of pool play due to the TQB tiebreaker. 

Chinese Taipei has won three gold medals at the Asian Baseball Championship, taking the top prize in 1987, 2001, and 2019. Chinese Taipei, South Korea, and Japan finished in a three-way tie at the Asian Baseball Championship in 1989. Chinese Taipei won a gold medal at the Asian Games in 2006, but has never won gold at the Olympics or the World Baseball Classic. 

The other 11 nations in the 2024 Premier12 tournament are No. 1 Japan, No. 2 Mexico, No. 3 United States, No. 4 Korea, No. 6 Venezuela, No. 7 Netherlands, No. 8 Cuba, No. 9 Dominican Republic, No. 10 Panama, No. 11 Australia, and No. 12 Puerto Rico.

The Premier12 tournament will be played from Nov. 10-24 after the regular seasons in Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, the Korean Baseball Organization, Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, and the Chinese Professional Baseball League have concluded. 

Group A at the 2024 WBSC Premier12 will be played at the Estadio Panamericano in Guadalajara, Mexico, and a new stadium in the Santa Teresita neighborhood of Tepic, Mexico, while Group B will be played at the Nagoya Dome in Nagoya, Japan, and the Taipei Dome in Taipei City, Taiwan. The WBSC has yet to announce the game schedule for the 2024 Premier12. 

The Premier12 was supposed to be scheduled for 2023 but was moved to 2024 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and aligning the Tokyo Olympics to be moved from 2020 to 2021 and the World Baseball Classic from 2021 to 2023.