This year’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season officially ended earlier this week with the award ceremony in Taipei.
Lin Chih-sheng came away as the top winner on the day by claiming the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) honor to go along with his top-ranked shortstop distinction and the Taiwan Series MVP selection.
The veteran Lamigo Monkey slugger who became the first 30-30 man in league history (30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season) this season beat out EDA Rhinos home-run threat Luo Kuo-hui (league-best 39 homers) by a whopping 138-68 margin in total points for his first league MVP honor.
“It’s a tremendous honor to win [MVP], given the number of great players around the league. I would like to thank each and every one of my teammates and coaches for making it possible,” Lin said upon receiving the MVP trophy.
Lin was not the lone winner with multiple winnings, as Mike Loree of the Rhinos also pocketed five trophies, highlighted by the Triple Crown in pitching for his league-leading earned run average — ERA (3.26), most victories (16) and most strikeouts (144).
The former Lamigo standout, who returned to Taiwan at the start of this season after spending last season with the KT Wiz of South Korea’s KBO, also set a new standard for pitching excellence with one of the best outings by a hurler in recent years.
“Baseball is a team sport and I could not have done it without the support of the entire team,” Loree said after the ceremony.
Rounding out the rest of the individual awards were Brothers Baseball Club bullpen stars Guan Da-yuan and Chen Hung-wen, whose respective 19 holds and 24 saves landed them the Setup Man of the Year and the Closer of the Year honors.
The Rookie of the Year honor was given to Hsu Chi-hung of the Brothers Baseball Club for a terrific season at the plate with a .319 average with 13 homers and 56 RBIs.
The Most Improved Player of the Year went to the Monkeys’ Lin Po-yo, who took over the closer’s role for Manager of the Year winner Hung Yi-chung with a 13-save season after a campaign last year that netted the third-year righty an even 4-4 mark in 12 starts and seven relief appearances.
The Most Stolen Base honor went to Lamigo speedster Lin Chih-ping for the second straight year with 32 stolen bases to his credit, two more than fellow teammate Lin Chih-sheng’s 30.
Former big leaguer Hu Chin-lung also proved his worth by taking home the Top Hitter and Most Hits honors with a .383 average and 171 total hits.
The top-ranked players by position were EDA pitcher Loree, catcher Cheng Da-hung, and first baseman Lin Yi-chuan, Uni-President Lions second baseman Lin Chih-hsiang, Monkeys third baseman Lin Chih-ping and shortstop Lin Chih-sheng, Brothers Baseball Club outfielder Chang Cheng-wei, EDA outfielders Luo Kuo-hui and Chang Chien-ming and Monkeys designated hitter Lin Hung-yu.
The Gold Glove winners by position for this year were EDA pitcher Loree, Brothers Baseball Club catcher Chen Chia-chui, EDA first baseman Lin Yi-chuan, Lions second baseman Lin Chih-hsiang, Brothers Baseball Club shortstop Wang Sheng-wei, Lion outfielder Luo Kuo-lung, and Monkeys outfielders Chan Chih-yao and Yu Teh-lung.
TAKE TWO: Tainan TSG are the favorites going into this season, which starts on Sunday. They have fearsome forwards and national ’keeper Pan Wen-chieh between the posts Defending champions Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) face a tough challenge from their southern neighbors Taipower and CPC FC when the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) season starts this weekend with four matches on Sunday. Promoting grassroots soccer, and organizing relegation and promotion between the top and second divisions last year was important for the progression of Taiwanese soccer, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “We are going in the right direction ... and becoming more competitive” for international competitions, Chiou said. Still the favorites, Tainan TSG have the league’s most fearsome forwards, with three international star players.
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