The 2017/18 Australian Baseball League (ABL) season is full of Taiwanese flavour, as there are several CPBL players currently playing down under during the CPBL off-season.

Taiwanese in 2017/18 ABL season

  • Chinatrust Brothers – 林智勝 (Lin Chih-Sheng) – Brisbane Bandits
  • Chinatrust Brothers – 邱品睿 (Chiu Pin-Jui) – Brisbane Bandits
  • Free Agent – 陳鴻文 (Chen Hung-Wen) – Brisbane Bandits
  • Free Agent – 蔣智賢 (Chiang Chih-Hsien) – Sydney Blue Sox
  • Pittsburgh Pirates 張進德 (Jhang Jin-De) – Sydney Blue Sox
  • Free Agent – 張泰山 (Chang Tai-Shan) – Adelaide Bites

With the ABL season approaching the half-way mark.  Here’s a recap on all the Taiwanese players that play in Australia.

Chang Tai-Shan, Chiang Chih-Hsien, Jhang Jin-De playing in ABL
Chang Tai-Shan, Chiang Chih-Hsien, Jhang Jin-De in ABL. Photo Credit: (ポッポ

蔣智賢 (Chiang Chih-Hsien) – Sydney Blue Sox

林智勝 (Lin Chih-Sheng) – Brisbane Bandits

  • Currently hitting .316/.364/.368
  • Not a lot of extra base hits right now, but there’s sign of Lin starting to heat up, expect a rise in slugging percentage in the coming future.
  • Coming back from an abdominal muscle stain which sidelined him for majority of the 2nd half CPBL season.

張泰山 (Chang Tai-Shan) – Adelaide Bites

  • 41 years old veteran is hitting .238/.256/.262
  • Released by Uni-Lions in 2015
  • Power is gone, will have to rely on his 20+ years of professional experience when it comes to hitting.
  • ABL very likely to be his final stop as a player.
  • Read more about Chang Tai-Shan here & here.

張進德 (Jhang Jin-De) – Sydney Blue Sox

  • Currently hitting .219/.286/.313
  • Pittsburgh Pirates Double-A farmhand

邱品睿 (Chiu Pin-Jui) – Brisbane Bandits

  • 3.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP over 4.2 innings of work as reliever.
  • Missed majority of the 2017 CPBL season due to knee injury

陳鴻文 (Chen Hung-Wen) – Brisbane Bandits

  • Just arrived to Australia last week.
  • Possibility to make his ABL debut in week 4
  • Still unknown whether Chen will be starting pitcher or reliever.
  • Released by Brothers for “disciplinary reasons”.  Rumour Fubon Guardians is interested to sign Chen in 2018 CPBL season.

Here’s another video of Chen taking on Team Australia and Brisbane Bandits earlier in his career.


  1. A couple of starting pitchers who pitched in the U.S. independent-A leagues last summer who are pitching particularly well in the Caribbean Winter Leagues this year are Reinier Roibal and Tyler J. Alexander. Both would be good bets for CPBL teams in 2018.

    Roibal had a 2.53 ERA in ten games (eight starts) with 50 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched in the Atlantic League last summer. In the Venezuelan Winter League, he currently has a second best 2.23 ERA with a league-leading 44 Ks in 48.1 IP. He will be 29 next summer.

    Tyler Alexander was the best full-year pitcher in the American Association in 2017, where he posted a 2.07 ERA and struck out 167 batters in 148 innings of work. In the Mexican Pacific League, his 3.20 ERA is currently only tenth best in the league, but he’s second with 51Ks in 56.1 IP. Alexander will be 26 next year.

    It’s a mystery to me why no MLB team signed Alexander last season, and I could see either or both of Alexander and Roibal signing with an NPB team to start the 2018 season pitching in NPB’s minor leagues with the hope that they could work their way up NPB’s major leagues.

    • Oh, interesting you mentioned Roibal. I remember seeing that name on the rumour signing list for Lions/ Guardians last season before the 31st August deadline. But I think Guardians went with Dave Kubiak instead. I’ll put Alexander to my watchlist too!

      There’s some hints a few foreign pitchers that was released by KBO might be on CPBL target list. But I just don’t see it happening though, they’d have to take a pretty significant salary cut coming to Taiwan.

  2. The KBO has cut three veteran aces so far this off-season in Dustin Nippert, Eric Hacker and Andy Van Hekken. All pitched well in 2017. However, all are likely too expensive for CPBL. Zach Petrick might be in the CPBL’s price range if he does not elect to return to the MLB system.

    • Yeah, I’m hoping somebody can bring in Eric Hacker for 2018 season. But again, it all depends whether Hacker will accept the contract from CPBL or not. As the current CPBL foreign players salary and contract is not as competitive as NPB and KBO.

      Financially speaking, I believe teams in Taiwan can afford to sign foreign players around $400,000 to $600,000 USD range. Just need to wait for someone to fire the first shot, as always once somebody start doing it, the rest will follow in order to be competitive.

  3. Another Winter League pitcher I like for the CPBL is Radhames Liz. Liz had three strong seasons in the KBO from 2011 to 2013, returned to the MLB system in 2014, made the majors in 2015 and pitched in Japan’s NPB in 2016. He currently has an 0.50 ERA with great ratios in seven Dominican Winter League starts. He’s 34 years old now, and it appears he’s missed some starts in the Dominican Winter League this season, but if he’s healthy, he needs a place to play in the summer of 2018.

    Eric Hacker would be a good bet for the CPBL, if a CPBL team can afford him. His reported salary in the KBO was relatively low ($650,000 in 2017 according to, but Dan at thinks that some KBO teams under-report what they actually pay their players.

    I’m doubtful that a CPBL team would pay a foreign pitcher $50,000 a month without an MLB record like Freddy Garcia’s. If Hacker would accept $35,000 a month (or $100,000 for the first half of 2018) in order to continue pitching professionally, then it could happen.

    • Yeah, for Hackers case. If he is coming, we might see an escape clause in his contract and it will be a 3 months to half season contract. Similar to the contract of Chris Seddon and Nick Additon.

      Yeah, under-reporting salary is big here too. I don’t know why organisation can’t just be more transparent about salary. I am suspecting they don’t want agents to “drive up” the price. But it’s one of the worst kept secret here.

      The last few years, we do starting to see a trend of CPBL teams going for younger foreign pitchers (More and more were signed under 30). But let’s wait and see how it will turn out in 2018, would be interesting to see the signings.

  4. Reports out of South Korea suggest that there is some interest in the Radhames Liz possibly returning to the KBO in 2018.

    Teams under-report salary in order to keep salaries down. One of the first things the Major League Baseball Players Association did when it became an independent union in 1966 was to collect salary data from all the players and then let all the players know what every other player was making, so that players who weren’t getting a fair salary compared to similar players could ask for more in the next contract negotiation.

    Once all the players knew what every other was making, there was no longer a reason to under-report the salaries, and MLB ultimately found out that fans were interested to know what the players were making and that it generated excitement for the public to know how well the best players were paid.

    I’ve noticed that throughout the Asian majors, teams are trying to bring in foreign players younger than ever. We are seeing more foreign players entering their age 26 season as NPB and KBO rookies than in the past. This trend probably has something to do with analytics, with teams concluding that getting foreign players near their ages of peak performance (26 to 28 generally) is important. However, foreign players who have successful careers in Asia lasting more than a couple of seasons are often late-bloomers, who have their peak seasons later than the average.

    • I think also mentally too. Younger players tend to be more hungry. With a decent season in CPBL, maybe they will be able to get a contract in NPB, KBO or even back to MLB.

  5. Daryl Thompson is pitching well in the Venezuelan Winter League (2.30 ERA and good ratios) following a strong summer in the Atlantic League. He’s 32 years old, but there is a lot to be said for his recent performance.

    In theory, younger players are hungrier, but a lot of it depends on the individual player. These guys are professionals, and for most foreigners who play in the CPBL, they do so because this is their last, best chance to make a better than living wage (by American standards) playing baseball. That’s incentive enough to make their best efforts to succeed in the CPBL, even if they don’t have a realistic chance of moving on to a better league. The Atlantic League pays at most only $3,000 a month for a 5.5 month season, which isn’t enough to live on comfortably on the U.S. East Coast where all the Atlantic League teams play.

    • By any chance do you have information on salary for other leagues outside of Asia? I heard in Mexico it’s about 10,000 a month, this is based on one of the Taiwanese players who was on loan to Mexican League about 5 years ago. What about for winter ball?

  6. Mexican nationals max out at a cap of 150,000 pesos per month (currently about $7,850 per month with the peso being weak against the dollar). Foreign players cannot earn more than about $6,000 per month for their first summer Mexican League season and are capped at about $8,000 per month as veterans. The Mexican League (summer) only lasts 4.5 months, so $36,000 is the most a foreign player can make in a season, although there may be free housing and under the table payments to the best foreign players. Also, no federal or state income taxes in Mexico.

    The Caribbean (Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela) winter leagues pay better for the best veteran stars. Veteran stars can make as much as $10,000 to $15,000 per month for what is typically a 2 or 2.5 month season. Many MLB system minor league players, who haven’t yet played at least one game in the major leagues, can make more money playing in a winter league for two months than they do playing the previous 5.5 months in the minor leagues.


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