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CPBL: In Taiwanese baseball, Cubans have a brief history

Photo ( Web Screen Shot): José Contreras posted a 4-1 record and 3.45 ERA in his only season in Taiwan.

By Yusseff Díaz

In the CPBL, Cubans have a relatively brief history. However, all of that is about to change as an influx of players are beginning to take over the sport.

Like in Korea, Cubans have a brief history in the CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) based on the island of Taiwan. In total 9 Cubans and one Cuban-American have played in the Asian league. Due to the political situation between both islands there has never been a player based in Cuba or better said a product of the Cuban Baseball Federation signed by the league.

Although the two leagues have played plenty of exhibition games against one another especially in the years of the World Baseball Classic there has never been an official accord between both Federations. The CPBL teams have been a good measuring stick preparation games for a Cuban National Team trying to get tournament ready for the WBC.

One of the most accomplished Cuban player to grace the circuit is ex-MLBer and Cuban league legend Jose Contreras who played a season with CITIC Brothers in 2015. During that campaign he compiled a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 3.45 in the Asian circuit.

Photo (Web Screen Shot): Ariel Miranda had the best season of any Cuban pitcher in the CPBL.

The pitcher with the highest win total of anyone of Cuban descent would be Elih Villanueva who in his three seasons in the league has tasted victory 12 times and was part of Rakuten pitching corps last season. The right had a magnificent with CTBC Brothers in 2019 posting a record of 9-3 and an earned run average of 2.92, the Miami native saw action in the big leagues with his hometown Marlins in 2011.

Brothers seems to be the team that brings in the most Cuban talent, because this season inked lefty Ariel Miranda to a 1 year deal in the with CTBC in 2020. The ex-Oriole and Mariner was been dominant on the mound in spite of shoddy relief pitching and dismal run support.

The southpaw from Mayabeque, Cuba was within the leaders of the circuit in games started (25), innings pitched (156.1), wins (10) in strikeouts (170). The hard-throwing lefty has an SO9 of 11.5 and a SO/W of 2.83. Miranda led Brother to the CPBL Championship and the team lost to Uni Seven-Eleven in seven games.

Cubans who have played in CPBL:

Osmany Estrada INF(Macoto) 1998-2000
Alberto Hernández C (Agan) 1998-1999
Eddie Oropesa RHP (Uni-President) 1998
Juan Medina Oropesa RHP (Taichung) 1998
Yadil Mijica SS (Taichung) (Minors) 2014
Michael Tejera LHP (Sinon) 2011
José Contreras RHP (CTBC) 2015
Hassan Pena RHP (EDA) 2016
Ariel Miranda LHP (CTBC) 2020
Elih Villanueva  RHP (CTBC,Rakuten) 2018-2020

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