Lin Yi-chuan came away as the biggest winner at the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s (CPBL) annual awards ceremony in Taipei on Wednesday with six trophies and more than NT$400,000 in prize money to his credit, including the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) honor.
It was the second time the EDA Rhinos slugger has “run the table” at the annual award ceremony following his spectacular five-award rookie season in 2009, in which he took home the Rookie of the Year honor and the MVP trophy, along with three other individual honors.
“It’s a thrill and honor to receive the awards, given the number of outstanding players in the league. I am deeply indebted to skipper Hsu [Shen-ming, the late Rhinos manager] for his selfless tutelage and guidance,” Lin said after the ceremony, lamenting the sudden passing of Hsu in August.
“The only thing that I am missing is the title ring, which I shall get next year,” Lin added, setting his goal to win the Taiwan Series next season after losing to the Uni-President Lions in four straight in the annual Fall Classic late last month.
The rest of his winnings on the day included the batting title, most hits and home run titles in the regular season at .357, 149 hits and 18 blasts respectively, as well as the Silver Slugger award and the top-ranked player in the league by position (first baseman).
Foreigners dominated the pitching side of the ball, with Lin’s teammate Andy Sisco taking home the ERA title with his league-best 2.70 mark. Even though Sisco did not finish the season with the Rhinos after being released after a winless August (0-3 in three starts), his 2.70 ERA was more than .70 run better than the next-best hurler.
Lamigo Monkeys righty Mike Loree’s 152 strikeouts topped the league in total K’s for the season, while Brother Elephants setup man Hiroki Sanada and closer Brad Thomas were the best in their respective specialty with 32 holds and 26 saves to lead an Elephants bullpen that kept them in the title hunt deep into the season.
The only local player to win a pitching award was Rhinos starter Lin Chen-hua, who led the league in total wins with 15 victories, despite a somewhat disappointing second half that saw the second-year side-armer go 5-6 in the second half, after having gone a blazing 10-2 in the first half.
Chang “OEO” Tai-shan of the Uni-President Lions, who drove in the most runs, with 90 to his name for the year, an incredible feat considering that the 18-year veteran was asked to hang up his cleats three years ago by his former club (the Sinon Bulls) before posting nearly 87 RBIs per season in the three seasons he has spent with the Lions.
Rounding out the rest of the individual awards were top base-stealer Wang Sheng-wei (29 stolen bases) of the Elephants, Most Improved Player Lin Tsong-nan of the Rhinos and Rookie of the Year Kuo Sho-yen of the Monkeys.
Lions manager Chen Lien-hung was named Manager of the Year for leading the Cats to a record-setting ninth league title after taking over from former skipper Terushi Nakajima midway through the season.
The top-ranked players by position were Rhinos pitcher Lin Chen-hua, Lions catcher Kao Chih-kang, Rhinos first baseman Lin Yi-chuan, Monkeys third baseman Lin Chih-ping, Elephants shortstop Wang Sheng-wei, and outfielder Chang Cheng-wei, and Rhinos outfielders Kao Guo-hui and Chang Chien-ming and Monkeys designated hitter Lin Hung-yu.