Texas Rangers have signed Lamigo Monkeys’ ace Zeke Spruill to a minor league deal. It is still unclear the plan Rangers have for the former Diamondbacks, or what level Spruill will be assign to in 2018 season.
Rangers are signing RHP pitcher Zeke Spruill to a Minor League contract… Pitched in Korea the last two years….. Pitched for Arizona in 2013-14
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) December 14, 2017
Zeke Spruill in CPBL
The 28-year-old hard throwing RHP finished his 2017 CPBL season with a dominating record of 2.56 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 150 strikeouts over 172.1 innings of work.
He also displayed the ability to go deep in the game, as he had 3 complete games (2 shutout) across 26 starts. Which has been praised by Monkeys skipper numerous times in interview.
“Definitely one of the key reasons to our success in 2017, with Spruill on the mound our bullpen essentially can get a day off” Said Monkeys skipper
The Numbers in CPBL
- 2.56 ERA – ranked #2
- 15 Wins – ranked #3
- 150 Strikeouts – ranked #2
- 172.1 Innings pitched – ranked #2
- 26 Game start – ranked #1
- 7.89 H9 – ranked #2
- 0.37 HR9 – ranked #2
- 2.35 BB9 – ranked #5
- 7.83 K9 – ranked #6
MVP dance time with #Lamigo's Zeke Spruill and his parents #CPBL 🤓🖤💙 pic.twitter.com/e2vomcisS7
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) October 8, 2017
A big loss for the CPBL, Spruill was a good one. I’m not really surprised, though. I thought that he would most likely return to the KBO or sign with an NPB team this off-season.
My guess is that the contract he signed with the Rangers pays him somewhere between $125,000 to $200,000 for minor league service time and somewhere between $600,000 and $900,000 for major league service time. I’m virtually certain he will start the 2018 season at the Rangers’ AAA team, the Round Rock Express.
Yeah, you can see quite a few NPB scouts at the stadium watching Spruill during the 2017 CPBL season. I thought he is definitely going to Japan.
Best of luck to him too, I hope he can make it to the major again. Just like other former CPBL foreign players, always a good story for the league when that happen.
28 year old Cuban pitcher Onelki Garcia has apparently turned a strong performance in this year’s Dominican Winter League into a contract with an NPB team. No word yet on which NPB team, but the Kansas City Royals have released Garcia to pursue an opportunity in Japan.
All the more reason for a CPBL team to pursue fellow Cuban Raineir Roibal?
We were talking about salaries for foreign pitchers the other day. For what it’s worth, according to yakyubaka.com (now yakyudb.com), Orlando Roman was paid approximately the following (in millions of yen) for the four years he played for the Yakult Swallows of NPB: 25, 60, 40, 52. That’s pretty affordable as foreign pitchers in NPB go; and although Roman was not a great pitcher in NPB, the Yakult Swallows more than got their money’s worth, proven by the fact that he lasted four seasons there.
I actually don’t think it makes that much sense for CPBL teams to break the bank on any one foreign pitcher. One pitcher, no matter how good, can only do so much. Mike Loree by himself couldn’t make the 2017 Fubon Guardians a winner, even as the CPBL’s best pitcher.
If CPBL teams start paying foreign pitchers $400,000 to $500,000 a year, then they have to pay players across the board much higher salaries than they pay now. CPBL attendance figures, to the extent they are reported, don’t seem sufficient at present to justify such high salaries, even if the corporations that own the teams could afford to pay them. Asian major league teams are often money losers for the corporations that own them, but usually only the extent that the loses are justified as reasonable advertising and public relations expenditures to the corporations.
CPBL signs foreign pitchers to make up for all the Taiwanese pitchers signed out of high school by MLB and NPB. These foreign pitchers only need to be good enough to create more of a balance between offense and defense so that the scoring in CPBL games isn’t outrageous. CPBL teams don’t have the revenue streams to compete with NPB or KBO teams for the same level of foreign talent, so it seems pointless to try. Instead, it’s better to identify under-appreciated, and thus lower paid, foreign pitchers like Mike Loree and Orlando Roman, who NPB and KBO teams are not interested in, because they haven’t pitched in the MLB major leagues.
I totally understand your point of foreign pitcher “Price vs effectiveness” too. I suspect that’s the reason why the CPBL teams have decided to sticking with the standard rate after all these years. But would be interesting some ball club decide to test it out and see will that make a difference or not.
I guess what I meant was financially speaking, CPBL team can afford the 400 to 500K price range (my estimate of CPBL salary ceiling). But teams just choose to stick with the “standard rate” for foreign pitchers. So if they’re going to try out this method, obviously not every pitchers have to be in the 400K range, but each team will have 1 in that higher bracket, while the other 2 in standard rate bracket.
Since it’s a 4 teams league and the season structure is in a half season format. The end goal is making to the playoff, as that’s where the team make most of the money. A lot of time, in only 4 home games in the playoff, the tickets revenue generally made up about 40% of the organisation’s tickets revenue for the entire season. In 2015 playoff, Monkeys racked in about 70% of their entire years tickets revenue, but that’s more on the extreme side.
Here’s some Win Share figures for each team’s foreign pitcher (I didn’t include those that join mid-way or towards end of season)
Spruill – 20
Downs – 14
Segovia – 13
Woodall – 14
Roman – 8
Kern – 6
Billings – 12
Figaro – 3
Loree – 19
Richmond – 9
Seddon – 2
Money aside, another reason of having 400 to 500k price range is maybe CPBL can attract even more higher quality pitchers (Maybe a few young “fringe 3A/ MLB player”) to pitch in Taiwan. Yes, obviously still can’t compete with NPB and KBO. But it will definitely contribute to the baseball development and quality of the games here in Taiwan. I guess I’m just looking at from an overall point of view on this issue.
As for kids getting sign out of Taiwan after high school and university. Not sure if I talked about this before, but I think some sort of “service ban” is needed to prevent that. Can probably can learn a few things from KBO. Having a policy along the line of “Should an amateur player first professional contract is not within Taiwan, once they returned to Taiwan, they’ll have to serve a 2 years ban before they are eligible for CPBL”.
Obviously, this won’t stop those kids getting signed for over 500K going overseas, but it will be a good way to keep quite a lot of 300K below level young pitchers. (Based on my research, a lot of them peaked at Double-A before returning to CPBL)
Your comment about playoff money being so important is a good point. Definitely would inspire teams to spend money to make play-offs.
If teams paid one foreign pitcher $300,00 to $500,000 and paid the other currently more typical rates, it would certainly be possible for teams to find one really good pitcher each at that price. Even so, sticking to inexpensive foreign pitchers and cycling through them quickly to find the ones that are really good still makes a lot of sense, given that foreign pitchers quickly move on a better pay-day elsewhere if they are highly successful in the CPBL.
I don’t like the idea of punishing young Taiwanese players who pursue much better pay-days in NPB or MLB. If Taiwanese hitters who don’t make in MLB end up returning to the CPBL, they can step right in and be stars in Taiwan without a development period.
Yeah, I prefer “free market” way too. But I guess it is the necessary evil to protect Taiwan’s baseball development. Both Japan and Korea have similar policy in place to protect their young players from being poach by MLB. But given the current Taiwanese baseball scene/ environment, I don’t see that happening for at least another 10 years.