NBP’s Chen Kuan-Yu Returns to CPBL
In early December, the Chiba Lotte Marines announced they would retain Chen Kuan-Yu’s contract for the 2021 season. At that time, it seemed Chen would probably stay in Japan for his tenth seasons in the NPB.
However, on December 11, 陳冠宇 (Chen Kuan-Yu) dropped the bombshell and made the unexpected announcement that he decided to leave the NPB and will return to Taiwan due to family reasons.
“Chen was going to re-sign with the team, but later decided to pursue a career in Taiwan,” Chiba Lotte Marines representative told Nikkan Sports.
Shortly after the announcement, his agent confirmed the 30-year-old left-hander is going to enter the 2021 CPBL draft. If Chen is healthy, he will be most likely to be the first-round pick in 2021.
“He wants to spend more time with his family,” said Chen Kuan-Yu’s agent. “The next step is to prepare for the 2021 CPBL draft.”
5回2失点7奪三振の力投！千葉ロッテ(@Chiba_Lotte )・チェン投手(@kuanyu1029 )！#chibalotte #チェンチェン大丈夫 pic.twitter.com/hVeyj42ydu
— パ・リーグ.com / パーソル パ・リーグTV公式 (@PacificleagueTV) August 30, 2017
Potential 2021 First Round Pick
With Chen Kuan-Yu entering the 2021 draft, now all eyes are on the Fubon Guardians, who have the number one spot in the draft order. Will they select Chen Kuan-Yu as their number one draft pick?
“He is an excellent player. However, there is still plenty of time before the mid-season draft,” the Guardians representative told ETtoday.
“I can not give you an answer right now,” said the Guardians’ manager Hong I-Chung. “All I can say at this stage is Chen Kuan-Yu is great in every way.”
The 2021 CPBL draft order are as followed: Fubon Guardians, Rakuten Monkeys, CTBC Brothers, Uni-Lions and Wei Chuan Dragons.
#CPBL held the daft lottery today to determine the 2021 draft order for the Wei Chuan Dragons.
However, the Dragons GM refused to participate to protest the league's FA system and the expansion draft rules.
On behalf of the Dragons, the CPBL commissioner drew a #5! 😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/z5uYspeVMz
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) December 8, 2020
Quick Facts: Chen Kuan-Yu
The Yokohama BayStars signed Chen Kuan-Yu out of Taiwan as an international free agent in 2011 and eventually found his spot in the NPB with the Chiba Lotte Marines.
From 2011 to 2020, Chen Kuan-Yu compiled a career record of 3.58 ERA and 1.42 WHIP over 269.1 innings in the NPB.
On the international baseball front, he represented Team Taiwan in 2015, 2019 WBSC Premier12 and the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
What kind of stuff does Chen Kuan-Yu have? Do you think he’ll be used as a relief pitcher/swingman or as a starting pitcher? Lastly what kind of contract do you figure he’ll get?
Fastball tops out at 152kph, but generally sits between 140 to 145kph. Pretty much throws all types of breaking pitches (cutter, forkball, shuuto, curve, slider and changeup), his primary breaking pitch would be his slider.
As for reliever or starter in the CPBL? I guess it all depends on his condition, but if healthy, definitely as a starting pitcher. He is sort of the “6th / spot starter” during his time with the Chiba Lotte Marines. If you look at Chen’s NPB FIP, xFIP, K%, B%, GB%, FB% and SwStr%, it is quite similar to Ariel Miranda during his time with SoftBank Hawks.
Contract wise, should be a multi-year deal. Assuming he can starts, his first year contract will probably between $240,000 to 320,000 USD.
I don’t like the fact that Chen has to wait half a season to get drafted. If it were up to me, I would let Fubon decide now if he would be there draft pick. If yes, the Fubon loses 1st pick and drafts for first time in 2nd round. If Fubon decides not to draft him then next team gets to decide if they want to give up 1st round pick to select him, and so on. It doesn’t help the league to make a high profile player wait half a season to play.
Yeah, unfortunately that’s the rule set by the teams, I honestly don’t see them breaking it. The only person I can see where they made a special case for it would probably be Chien-Ming Wang.
You know, it’s the whole then “where do you draw the line” mentality. It just going to make the whole draft process more complicated.
We think we will see Chen signing a developmental contract with a CPBL team and start pitching in the farm team, sort of keeping him in game mode before the draft.
I also think Fubon probably didn’t want to commit to draft Chen yet, because the 2021 draft is still 6-7 months away, we might get even higher quality players might return from the MLB system and enter the draft.
My wild prediction, I think Fubon might throw a lot of money at either Lin Tzu-Wei (ss) and Chiang Shao-Ching (sp) to convince them to enter the draft if both of them still stuck in Triple-A next year.
Lin signed with the Twins, also Chiang is a legit MLB relief arm, it’s a shame he got stuck in the Cleveland system
The rule that would make sense is that if a Taiwanese player has five seasons of professional experience, he can announce his intention to play his next season In CPBL by December 31. Then, some weeks later teams have a draft process where they decide with what pick he would be drafted. If player is undrafted, he becomes a free agent. In any event, he could play at start of season, and signing team who drafts him loses that draft pick in mideseason draft.
Me personally, I am leaning on the league not making any exception for those players that skipped the CPBL and signed with MLB / NPB. Yes, they will bring higher level of baseball back to Taiwan, but it is not fair to others draftees. An alternate option would be holding the annual draft at the beginning of the year or end of the year.