26 year old left hand sidearm pitcher Efrain Nieves arrived to Taiwan this morning. Who will become the latest addition to Lamigo’s pitching staff.
Nieves was drafted by the Brewers in 2007, who spent his 2014 season with Blue Jays High A team. Before his signing with Lamigo Monkeys, Nieves was playing at the Atlantic League with dominating record of 1.33 ERA, 0.89 WHIP over 27 innings. Nieves was part of the 2013 WBC Puerto Rican National team. Along with his Lamigo teammates Orlando Roman together shutting down the Dominican Republic to only 2 runs over 7.2 innings.
CPBL Reddit was fortunate enough to get a chance to have a chat with Nieves from his busy schedule.
Firstly thank you for taking your valuable time to speak with me. I’ve prepared a few questions and also asked the Lamigo Monkeys fans to see if they have any questions that would like to ask you.
Q: Let’s talk about your 2013 WBC experience. Can you share some of your experience playing with the Puerto Rican national team? How do you feel about your impressive performance limiting the Dominican Republic team to only 1 run over 2.1 innings. What was your strategy facing all the Dominican MLB calibre batters?
A: It was a unreal experience to be able to share a great moment and in the same team as the Puerto Rican MLB player such as Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran, growing up and watching them play the game was great but playing with them was memorable. Facing the Dominican Team, my strategy was simple, just keep the ball down, don’t try to do too much, you have seen them play, you know what their strength and weakness are, just command your pitchers down in the strike zone and they will do the rest.
Q: Your WBC teammate Orlando Roman. Who is also on the Lamigo Monkeys starting rotation. Do you know him personally? Did you guys stay in contact after 2013 WBC? If not, then it is quite a small world. That both of you are once again on the same team years later half-way across the world.
A: Yes, I do know him personally, other than the WBC we have played together in Winter Ball for the Criollos de Caguas team. We did stayed in contact thru out the years and seen each other everytime he goes back home from playing here, he always goes to the field to say hello to the guys. Is still a small world I honestly didn’t think that this would’ve happened, playing in the same team other than for Team PR and Winter Ball.
Q: CPBL sometime have questionable inconsistent strikezone can be a little tough for pitcher. How will you face and tackle this problem?
A: I heard about the strike zone being a little tough on pitchers sometime. I don’t have a plan to be honest, I know we are all humans and sometimes we may have a mistake during the game, it may be a call at a base, me missing a pitch location or an umpire not seeing that pitch good enough for him to be a strike, whatever its the circumstance it may be we just got to keep playing ball and minimizing big innings as a club.
Q: Do you have any idea what to expect when playing baseball in Taiwan? Did anyone give you any advice or tips before your upcoming trip to Taiwan?
A: Yes, I’ve talked to a couple friends of mine that have played here and they gave me really good tips on everything from playing baseball to living here. Am excited to be here and play for the Lamigo Monkeys.
Q: Lamigo fans are looking forward to having you on the rotation. Hopefully to cover the teams current left hand pitching department with your deceptive delivery and your ability to hide the ball. Also, a few theory that your signing is to target Chinatrust Brothers. As its line up is stacked with lefthanders and it is known not able to hit left hander pitcher well in the past.
Prior to your signing did you had any communication with the management what role will be you taking on once you arrive to Taiwan? (Starting role or Relieving role?) In your past experience in the MLB system which role do you feel most comfortable?
A: We haven’t discuss what type of role am going to have but am guessing it would be to start games. I really don’t have a preference, my mind set is simple, it doesn’t matter if am starting or relieving, I still gotta get hitters out, it doesn’t matter of it is 1 out or 6-7 innings, my job is to get hitters out.
Q: From looking at some of your older pitching footage you started your professional career with overhead and now it is sidearm. Is there a reason for that change? And when did you made the switch?
A: Yes, there is a reason why, in 2011 my High A pitching coach saw that right handed hitters where seeing the ball good of me, so we talked about dropping down the armslot a little bit to create a better movement on my fastball. Ever since that, I’ve been working hard to keep hitters of balance.
Q: When did Lamigo Monkeys approach you? And how did this signing come about? What’s your idea of CPBL the Professional baseball league of Taiwan, from your understanding what’s the level of CPBL? (Question from Lamigo fans “Blacksam & jackal9440 & remvsd”)
A: They approached my agent about a week, week and half ago about the possibility on this happening. I’ve talked to friends of mine who have been here before and they tell me its a great league, they told me its challenging and that I will face really good hitters, AAA level or maybe MLB players.
Q: Why Lamigo Monkeys? Before coming to Lamigo Monkeys, do you know anything about the team? (Question from Lamigo fan “tyler1997”)
A: I’ve heard great things about the team, fans and the Organization in general from friends of mine and doing a little research on the team history.
Q: Growing up, do you have a favorite sport team that you follow? (Question from Lamigo fan “sharkhead” 🙂
A: No, not really. I always been a fan of many sports and many players, I took a better position on finding athletes who I admires and watched played to learn from them in the sense it could apply to my game.
Q: What’s your impression of Taiwan? Have you ever traveled to Taiwan in the past? Willing to trying out some of the local food? (Question from fans “wonder234 & unter”)
A: I’ve heard its beautiful from friends that have been here before. This is my first experience in Taiwan and I can’t wait to see what it has to offer. I like to eat, so I would definitely try the local food.
Q: How’s your karaoke skill? (The most common question asked by Lamigo fans. Had to give Nieves a quick run down on what fans were talking about. The fans were referring to an upcoming post game concert events where in the past a few players has jumped on the stage to sing a few songs)
A: I am not a good singer but am willing to give it a shot.
Q: Anything you would like to speak to Lamigo Monkeys fans in Taiwan?
A: Of course, Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer some of your questions, can’t wait to be on the field representing the Lamigo Monkeys and to see everybody at the stadium.