Chang Yi Plans to Enter 2024 CPBL Draft

On November 22, Nikkan Sports reported that NPB free agent 張奕 (Chang Yi / Cho Yaku) has decided to leave Japan and seek other professional baseball opportunities in his home country, Taiwan.

A few hours later, Chang Yi’s agency confirmed the news, stating that although they received two offers from Japan’s independent league teams, they still recommended the 29-year-old right-hander to return to Taiwan and join a local semipro team first before entering the 2024 CPBL mid-season draft.

On November 23, the CPBL expansion team, TSG Hawks, confirmed that Chang Yi will play for them in the upcoming 2023 CPBL Winter League. The Hawks’ GM expressed a warm welcome, mentioning the possibility of signing Chang Yi to a development contract after the winter league, pending the coaching staff’s final evaluation.

Chang Yi in the NPB

Chang Yi, who went through Japan’s educational system, was drafted by the Orix Buffaloes in 2016. He played actively in the NPB first team between the 2019 and 2023 seasons, pitching for the Orix Buffaloes (2019-22) and Seibu Lions (2023).

In his five NPB seasons, Chang Yi posted a career record of a 5.32 ERA and 1.57 WHIP with 101 strikeouts over 113.1 innings. His standout season was 2022, where he worked exclusively as a reliever, finishing the year with a 2.38 ERA and 1.46 WHIP across 22.2 innings. Notably, he broke his personal velocity record with his fastball topping out at 158 kph (98.2 mph).

Potential Shoulder Issue?

In 2023, Chang Yi was selected by the Seibu Lions as part of the compensation package from a free agent signing deal involving Tomoya Mori. However, after joining the Lions, he experienced shoulder discomfort, pitching only five innings for the entire season, which ultimately led to him being released by the Lions.

Among Taiwanese fans, one of Chang Yi’s most notable moments was during the 2019 WBSC Premier12 Tournament, where he pitched 6.2 scoreless innings against the KBO All-Star team, leading Taiwan to a 7-0 win over Korea.

According to Chang Yi’s social media post on November 2, he has fully recovered from his shoulder injury and can now throw at 100% without any discomfort.

On November 15, Chang Yi participated in the NPB tryouts for released players, walking two and striking out one, with his fastball velocity maxing out at 148 kph (92 mph). Coincidentally, representatives from the TSG Hawks, Fubon Guardians, and Wei Chuan Dragons were also present at that tryout, witnessing Chang Yi’s performance in person.


  1. I really wish the CPBL would have some kind of a winter draft, where teams can sacrifice summer draft picks to select Taiwanese players leaving MLB or NPB who become available so that the player does not have to waste most of a season waiting for the CPBL summer draft. Better to get these players into CPBL major league action as soon as possible.


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