CPBL Foreign Players Updates Volume #154

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Rakuten Monkeys News: Dillon Overton

On December 21, the Rakuten Monkeys announced the signing of 29-year-old left-hander Dillon Overton.

“I look forward to experiencing professional baseball in Asia, and I hope to pitch well for the Rakuten Monkeys,” said Overton in the Monkeys’ press release.

Dillon Overton began his professional career in 2014 and eventually made his MLB debut in 2016 with the Oakland A’s. He pitched a total of 47.1 innings in the MLB between 2016-17 and compiled a 9.13 ERA and 1.88 WHIP.

In 2019, Dillon Overton spent the entire season in Triple-A and posted a 5.46 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 115.1 innings. It is also worth noting, that was his stats in the Pacific Coast League, which is a very hitter-friendly league.

A good comparison to Dillon Overton would be the Uni-Lions Tim Melville, who also pitched in the Pacific Coast League in 2019. Both players’ stats are almost identical.

With Tim Melville performed exceptionally well in the CPBL in 2020, maybe it is safe to assume it would be the same case for Dillon Overton. Below are a few players’ 2019 Pacific Coast League stats, all of them have pitched in NPB, KBO and the CPBL.

Dillon Overton’s Pitching Repertoire

According to the data on Baseball Savant, Dillon Overton’s fastball is not particularly fast, but he has an above-average spin rate. In terms of his breaking pitches, he throws a changeup, curveball and slider.

  • Fastball – 143 kph, 45%
  • Changeup – 130 kph, 34%
  • Curveball – 118 kph, 11%
  • Slider – 144 kph, 8%

Dillon Overton almost exclusively uses his changeup and slider against right-handed batters. When he is behind on the count, he mostly relied on his fastball and changeup.

Further Readings

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.


  1. Rakuten is doing a good job of identifying the foreign pitchers they want and getting them signed relatively early in the off-season. Both Overton and Wilkerson look like pitchers who should do well in the CPBL.

    • I wonder if that’s their foreign players signing strategy for 2021. Signing players from the Pacific Coast League. As both PCL and CPBL have a pretty similar league average stats, perhaps it is a lot easier for pitchers to get used to pitching in Taiwan.

      PCL 2019 –
      Average batting – .277/.354/.477 with OPS of 831.
      Average pitching – 5.48 ERA and 1.52 WHIP.

      CPBL 2020:

      Average batting – .299/.360/.462 with OPS of .821

      Average pitching – 5.27 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.

  2. Entirely possible, but the International League also became a hitters league in 2018 or 2019. It is important to get information about each home park in the AAA leagues. The PCL is a hitters league because many of the teams play in hot summer high altitude cities like Reno, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, El Paso and Tucson. The cities that aren’t high altitude are hot summer cities like Sacramento, Fresno, Oklahoma City and Nashville.

  3. The fact that they signed Overton and Wilkerson early may also have to do with Rakuten paying more than CPBL teams did a couple of years ago for foreign pitchers. They didn’t wait to who was still available in mid- or late January.

  4. Three possibilities for the Dragons’ one foreign position player perhaps more practical than soon-to-be 38 year old Kendrys Morales are:

    Yamaico Navarro (age 33 in 2021). Famous for his big seasons in the KBO in 2014-2015, his jump to NPB in 2016 brought his Asian pro career to a screeching halt. He can still hit, though, and his .911 OPS in 23 Dominican Republic Winter League games this year is third best this season. At this point in his career, he appears to be a 1B/DH type, who may be able to play in the outfield on an as-needed basis.

    Yadir Drake (31). Drake’s .887 OPS in 49 Mexican Pacific League games this winter is 11th best in circuit. His 35 games for the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2017 didn’t go well, but he still has that Asian experience CPBL teams love. Drake would also likely have defensive value as a right fielder.

    Gorkys Hernandez (33). Hernandez played in 270 Major League games in 2017 and 2018 for the San Francisco Giants. He hit poorly in AAA in 2019, but he has hit this winter in Venezuela. His 1.053 OPS in 21 games is 3rd best in Venezuela this winter. He can play all three outfield positions, which could increase his value to an expansion team.

    • I like Navarro, he would be an excellent fit for the Dragons.

      Based on the latest rumour it is probably going to be Rosell Herrera. The Dragon’s manager hinted it is someone from the Yankees 60-man roster, able to play both infield and outfield.

      I think they were looking at Matt Duffy at one stage, but got sniped by an MLB team. But having said that, anything can still change.

  5. Rosell Herrera is another level. I would expect he’d get paid like Henry Sosa or Ariel Miranda to join the CPBL. He played well in AAA in 2019 at age 26, so you would have to think at least one MLB team would be willing to sign him to play at AAA, if and when AAA baseball is played in 2021.

    I’d definitely sign Herrera over any of Navarro, Drake or Hernandez, because he’s a lot younger. Kind of strange he apparently didn’t play any Winter League baseball, though.

  6. Here are the Winter League pitchers I like best as CPBL prospects:

    1. Felix Doubront (age 33 in 2021). He’s already been named in CPBL rumors, and he’s an obvious candidate. MLB success, a year in the KBO, and he pitched well in both Mexico and Venezuela this winter.

    2. & 3. David Kubiak (31) and Thomas Dorminy (29). Two Indy-A league veterans, Kubiak and Dorminy both have CPBL experience although Kubiak never pitched at the major league level. Kubiak is leading LIDOM with a 1.76 ERA and 32 Ks (in 36.1 IP). He also has an 0.83 WHIP, although it’s only seven starts.

    Dorminy pitched well enough in five 2019 starts for the Lamigo Monkeys to deserve another look if he continues to pitch well somewhere else. In ten 2020 LMP starts, Dorminy has a 3.59 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, and a league 3rd best 50 Ks in 47.2 IP. The only knock on Thomas is that he didn’t average 5 IP per start.

    4. Another youngish pitcher I like is Matt Gage (28). He pitched well in the LMB in 2019, at least considering what an extreme offensive league it was that season, and he’s pitched reasonably well in the LMP this winter. Matt had a 4.03 ERA in six starts with 25 K in 29 IP.

    If Gage were to become a successful CPBL pitcher, he would join both Mike Loree and Mitch Lively as former San Francisco Giants’ farm system players to become stars in Taiwan. Like Kubiak and Dorminy, he would be a worthwhile choice as 4th foreign pitcher for a CPBL team.

    5. & 6. Two olders I like a lot are Yoanner Negrin (37) and Erwin Santana (38). Negrin was the 2nd best pitcher in the Mexican League in 2019 (the best pitcher, Cesar Valdez pitched great in nine MLB relief appearances in 2020 at the age of 35). Negrin is another Cuban pitcher, and he still has it. His 3.27 ERA is 5th best in LIDOM this winter, and his 30 K (in 33 IP) is 3rd best.

    Ervin Santana won 149 MLB games, he pitched in the majors as recently as 2019, and he had a 2.61 ERA with 25 K in 20.2 IP in five LIDOM starts this winter. He’d certainly be worth a three month contract.

    7. If the Dragons are looking for a closer for their 3rd foreign pitcher roster spot, I like Greg Mahle (28) as a cheaper alternative to Junichi Tazawa. Mahle had a 4.41 ERA in his age 26 season in a year split between AA and AAA in 2019, when he made 13 starts in 20 appearances. This Winter in Mexico, as a reliever and some time closer, he has a 0.94 WHIP and 30 K in 25.2 IP, even if his 3.51 ERA wasn’t stellar. He shone as a starter in LMP last winter, so he could easily be shifted to starting or spot starting if the Dragons decided mid-season they needed another starter instead of a closer.

    • Ervin Santana could be a good target for the Dragons. Big name and decent LIDOM numbers.

      Another guy maybe they can take a look at is Henderson Alvarez. He was on the Uni-Lions radar last year and Alvarez actual expressed interest to join the CPBL.

      In terms of former CPBL, yeah, like you said, they can probably get Dorminy and Kubiak with less than $20,000 a month.

      Dustin Crenshaw, Logan Darnell and Rick Teasley are also a good choice.

      Logan Darnell especially, he was extremely unlucky during his time in Taiwan, his BABIP was off the chart which led to high ERA and WHIP. But his FIP is pretty low and has high K% and low BB%. If I am a GM, I will definitely give him another shot.

      • My guess is that either Dorminy or Kubiak could be signed for a three-month $50,000 guarantee to pitch in Taiwan in 2021. If CBPL teams are all willing to pay $400K to $600K for top foreign starters, then getting one’s foot in the door is worth that modest guarantee for Indy-A stars like Dorminy and Kubiak.

  7. I would have liked to see Henderson Alvarez pitch better in Venezuela this winter. I definitely think Dorminy and Kubiak deserve another CPBL shot before Crenshaw, Darnell or Teasley.

    If CPBL teams decide they will routinely sign the best available foreign pitchers in the $400K to $600K annual range, they will be signing a better class of foreign pitchers than the league did only two or three off-seasons ago. At that price, they can sign a lot of foreign NPB and KBO pitchers who weren’t quite good enough to get re-signed, but could be stars in the CPBL.

    If a CPBL team could sign Drew Gagnon for 2021, that would be an exciting move. In 2020, Gagnon was 13th in ERA, 11th in IP and 6th in Ks in the 10-team KBO. The Kia Tigers should bring him back for another season, and if they don’t, another KBO team should sign him. If a CPBL team signs him, he’s definitely worth a contract in the $400K to $600K range.

    • Yeah, they can definitely find a lot of good talents with that $400-600K salary package. It is good see teams are more willing to go down on that spending big on foreign players route now. Another way to “forced” team to increase their foreign players budget would be playing 6 games a week, so team will need to sign better quality foreign players.

      I think I talked about this before, but CPBL team’s parent company are filthy rich, we are talking about on-par or even richer than some of the teams’ parent company in the KBO. The CPBL definitely got what it takes financially to duplicate that KBO salary package if they wish to do so.

      But yeah, one step at the time, start with 1-2 foreign players on $400 to 600K bracket is a pretty good starting point.

      By the way, while we are on the salary topic, according to the media, in the 2020 season, Tim Melville’s salary was $28,000 per month. Jose De Paula was on $22,000 per month, I can see it go up to $30,000 per month in 2021. Both Justin Nicolino and Ryan Carpenter were reportedly on full year contract with $300,000 in annual salary.

  8. Coming in mid-season, Melville’s $28K a month was pretty reasonable for the Uni-Lions. He’s probably getting a full year $300K contract to return for 2021. Could be the same for De Paula, who earned a full year contract based on the way he pitched in 2020.

    I could see Nicolino returning to the CPBL for a lower price in the future if he pitches well somewhere else first. I notice that he did not pitch this winter, suggesting he is still trying to rehabilitate his pitching shoulder. He’s young enough at age 29 to come back from a shoulder injury.


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