CPBL Foreign Players Updates Volume #163
Fubon Guardians News: Yomar Flande Concepcion
Six foreign pitchers? Six foreign pitchers!
On January 6, the Fubon Guardians have officially signed Yomar Concepcion to a developmental contract, and will assign him to the second team as the season gets underway. The Guardians were introduced to Concepcion on 2020 team ace Henry Sosa’s recommendation.
So, what is a developmental contract? In the CPBL, developmental players can only play in the minor league. Should the team wish to call a developmental player up to the first-team? Then they will have to sign him to a standard contract and add him to the active roster.
Concepcion joins Manny Bañuelos, JC Ramírez, and Héctor Noesí as their foreign player signings this offseason. They’ll join Henry Sosa and Mike Loree to make for that total of six. The team will need to choose four to be on their active rosters by Opening Day. Only Sosa, Loree, and Bañuelos have experience with the Guardians before 2021.
Concepcion, born in the Dominican Republic, is 28 years old and has been playing for the Guelph Royals in Canada’s Intercounty Baseball League since 2018.
In two IBL seasons, he went 8-10 with a 3.96 ERA in 29 games. He struck out 160 and walked 75, allowing 141 hits in 157 innings pitched. It’s also potentially note-worthy that he was better in 2019 than he was in 2018. Those stats are publicly available thanks to his Pointstreak page, but more advanced stats are not typically available in the smaller Ontario-based league.
Yomar Concepcion goes 7 1/3 strong for @GuelphRoyals but takes the loss as Guelph falls to the Herd. @IBL1919 pic.twitter.com/h4EJfA2Ywb
— Gar FitzGerald (@gar_pic) June 30, 2018
He also nearly threw a no-hitter in June 2019 against the Barrie Baycats (box score) – the Baycats have won the league’s championship in each of the last six years. The league’s been more competitive than that would suggest, but the team’s run put them pretty solidly on top as the best team on a consistent level. Concepcion’s consistently solid performances against them and within the league in general is impressive.
That said, the IBL is pretty consistently below the CPBL in level of play – although some of the pitching has been extremely impressive in recent years. Former Baycats ace Claudio Custodio jumped to the Toronto Blue Jays system (and more recently the Baltimore Orioles system) after pitching there, and former NPB/MLB pitcher Frank Garcés has also pitched within the league.
The Guardians say Concepcion, who stands at 6-3 on the mound, can reach 95 MPH/154 KPH on his fastball. This appears to be consistent with the IBL evaluation. Guelph Royals owner Shawn Fuller didn’t mention Concepcion by name in a 2018 Global News article talking about their Dominican-born signings, but grouped him in with “some guys that will be throwing into the mid-90s.”
Concepcion spent 2019 pitching for the Toros de Sincelejo in the Colombian League. According to Fubon Guardians, he pitched as a reliever there, striking 21 batters out in 22 innings pitched. He finished his season there with an ERA of 2.86.
About the Author
You can follow Patrick Melbourne on Twitter and head over to 641 Media for more sports and video games contents.
Foreign players come and goes, therefore we compiled a foreign players tracker to keep track of all the foreign players signing for the 2021 CPBL season.
I’ve never even heard of the Intercounty Baseball League, but a recommendation from Henry Sosa is worth something.
BTW, NPB teams pretty much all sign players like this now, although of a higher caliber –young Dominicans and Venezuelans who have washed out of the low MLB minors but continued to play at some level in the Dominican Republic. The Hiroshima Carp in particular, who have a developmental compound in the D.R., have gotten useful major league service out of some of these players, although most never reach the NPB majors.
Robert Suarez, the younger brother of former MLBer and current NPBer Albert Suarez, was one of NPB’s top relievers for the Hanshin Tigers in 2020, even though he apparently never pitched professionally before his age 24 season. The story I read is that he was discovered by a Venezuelan player playing professionally in Mexico who saw Suarez pitch in a semi-pro game in Venezuela and thought that Suarez had a strong arm but terrible mechanics and could develop into something if he improved his mechanics. The other player, whose name I don’t recall, got his LMB team to bring Suarez to Mexico to train, and the next year (2015) Suarez had a lights-out year for Saltillo in LMB and then got signed by the SoftBank Hawks. The rest, as they say, is history.
The point, I guess, is that you never know where baseball talent might be found, even if Conception’s odds aren’t great. I wonder what Fubon will pay him — $6K to $8K a month?
I would say the most notable thing out of the IBL the last few years has been Claudio Custodio joining the Jays system after pitching well for a while. May open the door to more names making similar jumps in the future rather than it just being a spot for semi-pro players and ex-MiLBers. Some of the teams are making more international signings more recently, which is kinda interesting. It’s mostly a great league for bringing baseball to smaller Ontario markets that don’t necessarily have access to the Jays. From my experiences with the league both as a reporter and a spectator, tickets are usually free-to-$10 CAD.
I don’t know if it’s likely that Concepcion will pitch for the Guardians much this year, but if he finds some playing time I’ll be beyond curious to see how it translates. Custodio’s had some success in AA.
Without seeing him pitch, I think as long his fastball is over 150kph and have moderate control. He will perform well in the CPBL farm league. There is a HUGE skill level gap between the CPBL 1st and 2nd team.
My theory on this. The Guardians just want someone to eat the innings in the farm league this year. And this whole developmental contract, this is just a nicer way of saying “cheap lottery pick”. He is very likely to be on like you suggested $5-8K a month.
And if Concepcion ended up doing well? Then that is a good investment and the Guardians have found themselves a gem for next year.
The fact that Rakuten signee Aaron Wilkerson reached the major leagues is nothing short of amazing, in that his professional career did not start until age 24. MLB teams NEVER draft amateur players over the age of 23. Wilkerson had to pitch great at age 24 and 25 in an Indy-A League to get signed by an MLB organization and then had to progress fast to reach the majors. Don’t know if that will help him succeed in the CPBL, but he’s already achieved something more difficult.
[…] The back story per CPBL STATS is that Yomar Flande was recommended to Fubon by marginal major leaguer/Asian Ace Henry Sosa, who I have to assume saw Yomar pitch semi-pro ball in the Dominican Republic. Flande had been pitching in the semi-pro Inter-County Baseball League in Ontario, Canada. I am marginally embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of the Intercounty Baseball League (have you?) because it is Canada’s oldest semi-pro league and a significant number of Canadian future MLBers played in it. […]