CPBL Foreign Players Updates Volume #121

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Rakuten Monkeys News: Justin Nicolino

On February 13, the Rakuten Monkeys announced the signing of 28-year-old left-hander Justin Nicolino. According to the Monkeys’ press release, Nicolino set to arrive in Taiwan and report to the Monkeys’ spring camp at the end of February.

“Playing baseball in Taiwan is a brand new chapter in my professional career,” said Justin Nicolino. “I look forward to everything here and will come to Taiwan in my best condition.”

Justin Nicolino began his professional career with the Blue Jays organisation as a second-round draft pick in 2010. He eventually made his MLB debut with the Miami Marlins in 2015 and active until 2017. During his three seasons in the MLB, Nicolino compiled a record of 4.65 ERA, 1.46 WHIP across 50 games and 201.1 innings.

After leaving the Marlins system, Justin Nicolino spent most of his 2018 to 2019 season in Triple-A within the Reds, Twins and White Sox organisation. At the end of 2019 season, he elected free agency.

Prior to his signing with the Rakuten Monkeys, Justin Nicolino pitched in the Dominican Winter League. He posted a 3.34 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 29.2 innings as the starting pitcher for Estrellas de Oriente.

Justin Nicolino Pitching Repertoire

Based on the data from Baseball Savant, Justin Nicolino has the following pitches in his arsenal during his 2017 season in the MLB.

  • Four Seam Fastball (90.9mph) – 53%
  • Changeup (83.5mph) – 20%
  • Curve (77.1mph) – 17%
  • Cutter (88.1mph) – 10%

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 2020 CPBL season.


  1. Nicolino seems like a fairly obvious CPBL candidate. He’s only 28 this year, he has major league experience, pitched fairly well in the Dominican Republic this winter, and he wasn’t likely to get a minor league contract after a rough 2019 at AAA.

    The home run ball really killed him in 2019 — he allowed 40 in 165 innings pitched. He didn’t allow an unreasonable number of HRs in prior seasons. We’ll have to see if CPBL hitters can elevate him in 2020.

    • Good LIDOM numbers typically equals to good CPBL numbers. It is interesting to see the Monkeys are going with two lefty foreign starting pitchers this season. Along with Wang Yi-Chung, they will now have three LHP in the rotation.


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