Stats I Compiled Because I Was Bored: USLC Player Nationalities
Guess who's been Ultra-Instinct levels of bored? Me. Guess who skimmed every club's Wikipedia article, cross-referenced with Transfermarkt, and curated a spreadsheet of player nationalities by club? Also me. Disclaimer: This post is really, really long. If you don't want to appreciate my hours upon hours of research, spread over a week as I slaved away over a hot keyboard, turn back now. Methodology: Basically I used the Wiki entries for nationality, which uses FIFA international allegiance, or place of birth for those without a call-up. Derived statistics include the total number of players across the 35 clubs, the total number of clubs that employ players of that nationality, and the total number of different nationalities at each club. I did not include players at 2-teams who are under contract with the MLS parent organization. I did, however, include academy signings. (Correct as of 7/24)
The remainder of the post will highlight these 37 players who are either the only players in the USLC from their respective countries, or the only ones who play for that country, due to FIFA eligibility rules. A player could theoretically be eligible to play for 8 different national teams, if: all 4 grandparents, both parents, and the player were all born in different countries, and the player has held residency for 5 years after turning 18 in yet another country. But anyway...
- The club with the most distinct nationalities is El Paso Locomotive, with 15. They also have the fewest American players, at 5. Their roster includes 5 Americans, 3 Englishmen, 2 Mexicans, and 1 each: Canadian, Jamaican, Brazilian, Irish, Scottish, Cameroonian, Colombian, Spaniard, DR-Congolese, Haitian, Dutch, and Belgian.
- In the reverse, the least-diverse (in terms of nationality) is LA Galaxy Jr. with just 5 nations represented. 20 Americans, 2 Mexicans, and 1 each Ghanaian, Liberian, and Sierra-Leonean.
- El Paso, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay each have 12 nations represented by just 1 player in their squad, more than any other teams. These aren't necessarily the only players of their nation in the league, but speaking of which...
- No less than 37 nations have just one player across all 35 USLC clubs. That means that ~44%, or almost half the nations represented, have just 1 player. The next 37 nations, which range from 2 to 8 players, represent 154 individuals.
Afghanistan: David Najem (New Mexico Utd.)
Albania: Vangjel Zguro (FC Tulsa)
- Originally from New Jersey, Najem only recently debuted for Afghanistan, so far making 3 appearances. He and his brother Adam are eligible through their father. Both David and Adam played in the USLC last season, but with the latter's move to the Polish league, David is the only Afghan international in the league.
Andorra: Joan Cervós (Colorado Springs Switchbacks)
- Hailing from the city of Pogradec, Tulsa's left wing-back (?) started at his hometown club, followed by several short stints at other domestic teams. He first moved abroad in 2019 with USL1's Chattanooga Red Wolves; he has yet to debut for his current side, or his national team.
Austria: Daniel Fischer (Saint Louis FC)
- Though I haven't checked exhaustively, I suspect that Colorado Springs' left-back is the first Andorran player for a professional U.S. team. Even if he's not, he's almost certainly the first Andorran goalscorer in professional American soccer. He received his first international call-up in 2018, becoming first-choice and taking part in 16 of 19 games since then for the small Iberian nation.
Azerbaijan: Rufat Dadaşov (Phoenix Rising)
- The young left-back came up through the youth system of Austrian side SKN St. Polten, he played college ball for Young Harris in Georgia, spending a summer with Cincinnati Dutch Lions in the PDL. At 23 years of age, he's yet to appear for his current club.
Belgium: Chiró N'Toko (El Paso Locomotive)
- The only current player from the countries in the Caucusus, Dadaşov spent his entire career around the German lower leagues, before moving to Phoenix before this season. He made an impact immediately, netting a hat trick in their first game of the season and assisting one against OCSC. He's also played 24 matches for his country, netting 5 goals (all against red-and-white flags: Qatar, 2 vs Malta, Northern Ireland, and Bahrain).
Bermuda: Zeiko Lewis (Charleston Battery)
- Though born in Kinshasa, Zaire, N'Toko holds Belgian citizenship, the only such individual in the USLC. The 32-year-old moved to El Paso for the 2019 season, and has become club captain. Most of his career has been in the Netherlands, with short stints in his home Belgium, England, and Slovenia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Robert Kristo (North Carolina)
- Though not technically an independent country, Bermuda is a full member of FIFA, and Battery forward Zeiko Lewis is the only of that island currently in the USLC. A USL veteran, Lewis played for the Bermuda Hogges, Real Boston Rams, and Energy Drink Jr. before spending the 2018 season in Iceland, returning to the league with Charleston in 2019. A senior international, he has 26 caps and 9 goals to date, including a hat trick against Dutch possession Sint Maarten.
Bulgaria: Vilyan Bijev (Sacramento Republic)
- Born in Bosnia but raised in St. Louis, Robert Kristo translated a successful collegiate career into spells in the Italian Serie C and the 3. Bundesliga. Joining the artist formerly known as the RailHawks, he's scored 12 in 30 since the start of 2019. He hasn't been called up to the national team to date.
Burundi: Chancel Ndaye (Las Vegas Lights)
- The Bulgarian midfielder, raised in California, has had something of a journeyman career. With youth spells at California Odyssey and Liverpool, he spent time on loan in Germany and Norway. He spent time back in Bulgaria, moving to Portland Timbers Jr., but he's spent more time at Republic than any previous team. Eligible through his residence, he's capped at youth levels for both the United States and Bulgaria, but is yet to make a senior appearance for either.
Cabo Verde: Steevan Dos Santos (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
- Born in Bujumbura, the 21-year-old right-sided defender moved to Las Vegas before the start of the season from the Czech Republic. Despite his age, he debuted for his nation at the Under-20 level at 17, and the senior level aged 19. His caps are in the U-20 AFCON, senior CECAFA Cup, and a friendly against Djibouti.
Congo: Brunallergene Etou (Charlotte Independence)
- The Cape Verdean striker joined Pittsburgh ahead of the previous season, where he played nearly every game, scoring 10 and assisting 6 as they won their conference. The 30-year-old had a diverse career before coming stateside. Starting off at hometown club CS Mindelese, he spent a spell in Norway with Ull/Kisa before 2 seasons with Angolan side Progresso. He played briefly for Rochester Rhinos and Ottawa Fury, before becoming a key player at his current club.
Côte d'Ivoire: Jean-Christophe Koffi (Memphis 901)
- Though born in Brazzaville, defensive midfielder Etou began his career in France, playing for lower-league sides Drancy, Le Havre Reserves, and Mont d'Or before "going pro" with Ligue 2 side Béziers. He joined Charlotte ahead of this season, and made his debut in their opening win against Sporting Kansas City Jr. Aged 26, he has yet to break into his national team.
Curaçao: Ayrton Statie (Reno 1868)
- The young midfielder hails from Côte d'Ivoire's capital city, Abidjan. After moving to the U.S. in childhood, he spent time in D.C. United's youth setup, before a collegiate career at University of Virginia. He joined Energy Drink Jr. for last season, starting 26 of his 27 appearances, before joining Memphis ahead of this season. He is not capped internationally at any level, but could potentially play for either his birth nation or the U.S.
Dominican Republic: Rafael Díaz (Sacramento Republic)
- Born in the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire, the left-back plays internationally for Curaçao. I couldn't specifically find information regarding his eligibility; Bonaire is a municipality of the Netherlands, which is a constituent country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands along with Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. Bonaire has a team, but it isn't a FIFA member. It's confusing. Nonetheless, after playing in the Dutch second division and briefly in Azerbaijan, Reno brought him in for the 2020 season. He has yet to appear for the Nevadan team.
French Guiana: Thomas Vancaeyezeele (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
- Backup goalkeeper for Sacramento Republic, Rafael Díaz has spent his entire career in the lower leagues of American soccer. From the PDL and NPSA, he moved to Energy Drink Jr., playing 21 times in the league across 3 seasons. Since joining Sacramento in 2018, he's played 8 times across all competitions. Uncapped internationally, he's nearly a decade younger than his nation's first two choices, so there's still hope!
Grenada: Arthur Paterson (Charleston Battery)
- Born in Caen in France, Vancaeyezeele spent his youth career with his hometown club, having short spells at lower-league French and Spanish sides before attending the University of Charleston. He played for the now-defunct Florida Adrenaline, and Mississippi Brilla, before joining Pittsburgh following a trial spell. Internationally, he represents French Guiana, eligible through his grandparents. Though they aren't a FIFA member as a department of France, they participate in CONCACAF competitions, and he's played in the Nations League.
Italy: Daniele Proch (North Carolina)
- A Florida native, Paterson played for Wright State in Ohio, he was passed up by NYCFC and landed at Bethlehem Steel, where he played a single match in 2018. At Charleston ever since, he was an important part of their 2019 playoff push at left-back, scoring 4 and assisting 2 in 23 matches across all competitions. Eligible through his father, Paterson has 9 caps for Grenada, with 4 goals in Nations League play. In his last match against Belize, he ran out as captain.
Lesotho: Napo Matsoso (Louisville City)
- Somehow, Daniele Proch is the only USLC representative from the great footballing nation of Italy. Coming up through academy systems in the north of his home country, he spent time at Serie D side Dro before playing at Catawba and Duke in the U.S. Signing with NCFC ahead of this season, it's his first fully professional contract. The forward debuted in the season opener, coming on as an 87th-minute substitute.
Malawi: Yamikani Chester (Las Vegas Lights)
- Originally from Maseru, capital of the small southern African enclaved nation, the 26-year-old midfielder attended and played for University of Kentucky in Lexington. Spending a few summers on loan at Derby City Rovers and Reading United, he was a draft pick for New England Revolution, though he never appeared for the senior team. Joining Lou City from Mississippi Brilla in 2018, he's since appeared 29 times in all competitions, scoring 5 in the USLC. For his nation he's played twice, though not since 2017; Lesotho mainly draws from their domestic league and their neighbor, South Africa.
Mauritius: Ashley Nazira (San Diego Loyal)
- 25-year-old striker Yamikani Chester played for domestic clubs Tigers and Mighty Wanderers, he signed with Czech side Vyskov, immediately taking a loan spell at North Carolina FC for 2019. At the end of that campaign he signed for LV Lights. To date, he's only made one appearance for the Vegas side, an 86th minute sub in a 2-1 loss to San Diego. He has 10 caps for his national side, but he's been limited to qualification tournaments, as Malawi rarely competes outside regional cups.
Montenegro: Emrah Klimenta (San Diego Loyal)
- Starting out at domestic club Boulet Rouge, he led the league in scoring four of his five seasons. He signed with San Diego ahead of their inaugural season, uniquely becoming the first Mauritian professional in American soccer. However, he has yet to appear for Donovan's side, making the squad just once as an unused substitute. He debuted for the island nation in 2015 aged 20, and has appeared in 16 matches with 7 goals since.
Morocco: Younes Boudadi (Reno 1868)
- Montenegrin utility defender Emrah Klimenta was born in Yugoslavia, but is eligible for the modern nation as the successor of the former federal state. Having grown up in the United States, he came through the youth systems of Slovakian side Zilina and FC Ingolstadt of Germany. His entire senior career has been in California, except a brief stint at Reno. From the now-defunct NPSL Bay Area Ambassadors, he found success at Sacramento Republic from 2014 to 2017. After a brief spell at LA Galaxy, he moved back to Sac for the rest of 2018, before helping Reno in their playoff push in 2019. After debuting in 2016, he's racked up 7 caps for his nation.
Niger: Abdoul Kairou Amoustapha (Loudoun United)
- Born in Ypres, Belgium, Boudadi came up through the youth teams of Bruges before moving stateside for the college game. Spending 2 years each at Boston College and Creighton, he spent summers playing with PDL side Boston Bolts, and NPSL team Laredo Heat. Eligible through heritage (I couldn't find a good source), he's represented Morocco at Under-17 and Under-20 youth levels, most prominently in their appearance at the 2013 U-17 World Cup, helping them win their group before exiting in the round of 16.
North Macedonia: Xhelil Asani (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
- Aged just 19, the Nigerien forward joined the DC United reserves earlier this year from Niamey club ASN Nigelec. I can barely find any information on this player, but he hasn't made the matchday squad in either of their games this season. He has, however, made appearances for Niger at Under-17, -20, and -23 levels. He was in the squad for their appearance at the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India. He featured as a substitute in a 4-0 group loss to Spain and started a 2-0 loss to Brazil. Advancing on third-place ranking, he was an unused sub in a round of 16 loss to Ghana.
Palestine: Nazmi Albadawi (North Carolina)
- Though just 24 years of age, left-wingback Asani has built a diverse CV of clubs. Brief stints in lower-league Macedonian teams Napredok, Vellazerimi 77, Bylis Barish, and Metalurg Skopje preceded his first move abroad to Maltese top-flight Pembroke Athleta in 2016, and again to Torpedo Bel-AZ Zhodino in Belarus before returning to his home country with Shkendija. As if that weren't enough, he played briefly at Mash'al Mubarak in Uzbekistan, Mladost Doboj Kakanj in Bosnia, and SKA Khabarovsk in the ass-end of Russia before finally joining the Pittsburgh team before this season. He's made the bench 4 times, but has yet to debut. I'm exhausted after writing that.
Paraguay: Erik Lopez (Atlanta United Jr.)
- Born in Raleigh, he played for North Carolina schools Wake Tech and NC State, spending summers with the RailHawks' U-23 side. He moved up to the senior team in 2014, appearing over 100 times in all competitions before a move to FC Cincinnati ahead of their final USL season. Scoring 11 in 31 from attacking midfield, he stayed with the Ohioans in their MLS expansion, though he was loaned back to NCFC after one MLS appearance. He made his return permanent before this season, and has captained one of his two appearances this season. Eligible for Palestine through his parents, he's played for the west Asian team 9 times, scoring the winner against Pakistan on his debut.
Philippines: Niko de Vera (Portland Timbers Jr.)
- On loan from his hometown Club Olimpia, the 18-year-old striker joined the Atlanta reserves on loan just earlier this month, and is set for a permanent move in 2021. He has yet to appear for the club, though in 2019 he appeared 16 times for Olimpia, scoring 4 in the league. He's already played for Paraguay at the Under-23 level, featuring in 2 losses during CONMEBOL Olympic qualification.
Poland: Dariusz Formella (Sacramento Republic)
- Born in Washington state, young left-back Niko de Vera spent time in the Portland Timbers youth setup before playing 60 games over 3 years at University of Akron. Playing with the Timbers' U-23 team in the PDL, after college New York Energy Drink drafted him, and he played for their USL reserve team in 2018. He returned to the Timbers organization ahead of the 2019 season, playing for the 2-team ever since. Eligible through his father, he was called up for World Cup qualification in 2019. However, he has yet to debut, making the bench just once, against China.
Russia: Valeri Saramutin (Austin Bold)
- Hailing from Gdynia on Poland's Baltic coast, left-winger Formella made his professional start at his hometown club, Arka Gdynia in the Ekstraklasa, in the 2012/13 season. He was then employed by Polish giants Lech Poznan from 2013-2018, but with several short loan spells back to Arka, Pogon Szczecin, and Rakow Czestochowa, where he earned valuable playing time. The last of these signed him permanently for 2018/19, but he came stateside and joined Sacramento ahead of 2019. He's played 15 times for them so far, including 2 goals against Tacoma the other week. He's progressed through the Polish national youth levels, appearing for the U-16, -17, -18, -19, -20, and -21 teams. He has yet to make his senior debut.
Rwanda: Abdul Rwatubyaye (Colorado Springs Switchbacks)
- Born in Camden, New Jersey, he's eligible for Russia through his parents. Aged 25, he graduated Dynamo Moscow's youth academy to debut for the senior team, also playing for the reserve team. On Dynamo's books from 2012-2017, he moved to Dynamo St. Petersburg, playing in the Russian second division in 2017/18 before a brief stint with Veles Moscow in the tier below. He's been with the Texan club since their inaugural campaign, playing 30 games in midfield in their playoff push and their Cup run. For Russia, he's appeared at Under-16, -17, -18, and -19 levels.
Serbia: Ilija Ilić (Indy Eleven)
- Sandwiched between Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of he Congo, the small nation Rwanda only has one player in the USLC. Abdul Rwatubyaye, aged 23, started out in the youth system of Armee Patriotique Rwandaise, one of several major clubs in the capital, Kigali. He made his professional debut at crosstown club Isonga, before moving back to A.P.R., and eventually to Rayon Sports for a season. An MLS prospect, he joined Sporting KC early in 2018, making 2 appearances for the senior team and 1 for the reserves before moving to Colorado mid-season. Since joining the Switchbacks, he's played 25 games at center-back, scoring 4 along the way. Internationally, he's played 25 times, becoming a regular since his debut in 2015.
St. Kitts and Nevis: Atiba Harris (Oklahoma City Energy)
- Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in what's now Serbia, Ilić progressed through the youth teams in his hometown, including a brief loan to third-division side FK Sopot. After a collegiate career at Young Harris, with summer spells at PDL side Ocala Stampede, he joined Louisville City in 2015. He quickly became a regular in attack, with 91 appearances in all competitions from 2015-2018, helping them to two consecutive postseason titles. Joining Indiana's capital team ahead of 2019, he hasn't found the same success, playing just 22 times since. He has not yet been capped by Serbia.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Kyle Edwards (Rio Grande Valley Toros)
- The oldest player on this list, the 35-year-old defender is a veteran of MLS. After brief employment in Spain at the start of his career, he joined Real Salt Lake for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Staying in MLS, he was an important player for several teams in one or two-year spells. After a second spell with FC Dallas, playing 84 league games between 2015-2017, he spent the first half of 2018 at Mexican third-tier side Murcielagos, before joining OKC midway through the season. He's become a key player ever since, becoming club captain in 2019 and appearing in nearly every game for them since. He also captains his national team, appearing dozens (I keep seeing conflicting figures, but at least 41) times since 2003. Notably, he scored a hat-trick in the nation's joint-best-ever result, 10-0 over Saint Martin in the Nations League.
Tanzania: Ally Hamis Ng'anzi (Loudoun Utd.)
- At just 23 years old, the right-sided midfielder has already had a diverse playing career. Starting out at domestic club System 3 aged 16, he moved abroad to Antigua & Barbudan club Grenades from 2015-2017. Concurrent with his college career at Ranger College and UT-RGV in Texas, he played for PDL teams Houston Dutch Lions and Brazos Valley, before signing with RGV Toros ahead of the 2020 season. He's had just 3 of their 5 games this season, but he is a senior international, debuting in 2014, aged 17. He's earned 15 caps, mostly in friendlies, and has yet to score for his nation.
Togo: Shalom Dutey (Charlotte Independence)
- Born in Mwanza and raised in Dar es Salaam, the 19-year-old midfielder signed for DC United's reserves ahead of the current season. He began his career at domestic club Singida United, he signed for Czech third-tier Vyskov in 2018. His first move to American soccer was a loan spell at Minnesota United, who in turn loaned him to USL1's Forward Madison for 2019, where he played a handful of matches. He has yet to play for his current club. He's represented his nation at Under-17 and U-20 levels. He's also trained with the U-23 team, though hasn't appeared at that level yet.
Turks and Caicos Islands: Billy Forbes (Austin Bold)
- The young left-back is in his first professional contract, after playing college ball with nearby Liberty University. Born to Togolese parents and raised in Charlotte, he spent a spell with USL2 side Charlotte Eagles in the 2019 season. At just 22 years of age, I haven't found much information about him. While he hasn't yet played for his USL team, he's earned several honors in his youth career, including high school All-American, and USL2 Southern Conference Team of the Season.
Phew. I started writing this post a week ago today, and a couple players have joined USL clubs since then, but none with unique nationalities. If there's anything to be learned here, it's that A) a lot of these players are defenders, and specifically left-backs for some reason, and B) I should have broken this up into smaller, more manageable pieces. For my next project I'm doing an overview of football in EU overseas territories. Because why not.
- The 29-year-old Turks and Caicos Islander has spent his entire career in the American lower leagues. Coming through Western Texas College and Lubbock Christian University, he played for PDL Mississippi Brilla for a summer after graduation, before moving to now-defunct WV King's Warriors in West Virginia, also of the PDL. He moved to NASL team San Antonio Scorpions for 2014 and 2015, their last two seasons of existence, before moving to Rayo OKC in 2016. He first came to the USL with San Antonio FC in 2017 and 2019, with a season at Phoenix in between. He signed for Austin ahead of this season, making two substitute appearances so far. He debuted for his nation in 2008, appearing 13 times, 8 as captain.
submitted by ghtuy
In depth Intro to CPBL 2020
As for now, I think CPBL from Taiwan is the only professional baseball league that is playing right now, and should be now getting some attention from baseball fans around the world.
I've basically been watching the league since I was born with my dad being a casual fan at the time, and have been following it pretty closely since 2012. In addition to the fact that I have close connections to the league as being a volunteer, I think this general analysis of the teams in the 2020 season should be pretty helpful for you guys.
A little background of the league (I'll keep it as short as possible)
The league started in 1990 with Brother Elephants, Uni-President Lions, Weichuan Dragons, and Mercuries Tigers. And after many transitions and dissolving of teams, we are still stuck with four teams: Chinatrust Brothers (Former Brother Elephants), Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions (they added 7-Eleven for commercial issues), Fubon Guardians, and Rakuten Monkeys. Weichuan Dragons now play only in the minor leagues as they left the league in 1999 and returned last year, so they need to spend a season only in the minor leagues before making it in the majors.
The team now plays in a two-half season format, where the winners of each half season will compete in the Taiwan Series. Not the best format as you can see the first half season winners not playing that hard in the second half season, but with four teams that is probably the only way.
Team info: Chinatrust Brothers
Currently the longest team without the Championship, but also the team with the longest and deepest history. The last time they have won it was in 2010 when they were still called the Brother Elephants. This year they've gone for a managerial change that sees Chang-Jung Chiu （丘昌榮）now leading the team. However, this will be the first season after the retirement of legendary player Cheng-Ming "Cha Cha" Peng（彭政閔）.
I would personally say the Brothers are best in defense in the league: Catcher Yu-Chieh Kao （高宇杰）stormed onto the surface rapidly with his cannon arm from behind the plate, Haro Ngayaw（王勝偉）is a 9-time gold glover, Tung-Hua Yueh（岳東華）is probably the best utility player in the league, Chih-Hao Chang（張志豪）and Tzu-Hsien Chan（詹子賢）are also pretty reliable in the outfield. Although their offense is not as powerful as the Guardians or Monkeys, they're threatening as their batters have better plate discipline.
Brothers have an alright pitching squad too. For starters, other than the three foreign members, Yi-Chung Liao（廖乙忠）and En-Tzu Huang（黃恩賜）should also be a part of the rotation. However they both haven't had a full season in the league yet, so 2020 will be a challenge for them in that aspect. Relievers are a slight problem for them: Setup Man Kai-Wen Cheng（鄭凱文）has been heavily overused in previous seasons, and the only other reliable reliever left is former Indians pitcher Cheng-Chang Lee（李振昌）. Other than those, I don't see another reliable reliever.
Batter to Watch: Ngayaw Ake（林智勝）. One of the best batters in the league, he can deliver dingers easily, even being 38 years old now.
Pitcher to Watch: Ariel Miranda. Well he's one of the rare stars who joined CPBL in his prime years at 31. With three season in the MLB and two in the NPB should really benefit the Brothers.
Team info: Rakuten Monkeys
This team doesn't really splash cash or anything, but is the most successful team in the last decade with five championships. Lamigo sold the team to Rakuten after winning three consecutive championships, but this year will be a huge obstacle for them. Former manager I-Chung Hong（洪一中）has left the team for the Guardians and has also taken a portion of the coaching squad with him, new manager Hao-Chu Tseng（曾豪駒）has no managerial experience, and has to now take the pressure.
Batting has never been a large problem for the Monkeys recently, in their starting lineup last year they could have 7 players that could hit 10 HRs in a season, including the HR Leader of 2019 Yu-Hsien Chu（朱育賢）with 30. However as an offensive-centric team, their defense can be the issue sometimes.
Pitching could be troublesome for the Monkeys too. Lefty Taiwanese starter Yi-Cheng Wang（王溢正）will miss the start of the season due to injury, and there isn't a reliable 4th or 5th starter left in the rosters. Submarine pitcher and former reliever Tzu-Peng Huang（黃子鵬）seems like will get the chance to start but he hasn't done so, and hasn't even pitched many long inning games either. For fifth spot, it will be a huge battle between many. In terms of relievers, Monkeys aren't that safe. They used to rely on Yu-Hsun Chen（陳禹勳）to close the game, but has had a disastrous season last year. Yao-Lin Wang（王躍霖）has been average after returning to Taiwan, Po-Yu Lin（林柏佑）isn't much better too.
Batter to Watch: Chun-Hsiu Chen（陳俊秀）Former triple-A player is one of the most all round players in CPBL. He can blast, run, field, etc. Also, he was the one that killed Korea off with a 3-run blast in the Premier 12 last year.
Pitcher to Watch: Ryan Carpenter. Starting the opening game, the former big leaguer should have some dominance with his left arm.
Team info: Fubon Guardians
They have invested heavily in talent and want to be like the Dodgers or Yankees in CPBL, but all of their previous seasons can be described in one word: disappointing. They always had a chance to compete in the Taiwan Series, but failed in the end miserably. Many blamed the players for having bad discipline and mentality towards the end of the season, and the Guardians are trying to resolve this issue by signing a new manager: former Monkeys manager I-Chung Hong（洪一中）.
Honestly the Guardians really have a good squad of players. Great defensive players down the middle such as You-Yin Lin （林宥穎）and Pei-Feng Dai（戴培峰）behind the plate, Tsung-Hsien Lee and Kai-Lun Chen（陳凱倫）in middle infield, and former Red Sox Che-Hsuan Lin（林哲瑄）bossing centerfield. In batting, there is the powerhouse first baseman Yi-Chuan Lin（林益全）, controversial 3B Chih-Hsien Chiang（蔣智賢）, brothers Kuo-Hui Kao（高國輝）and Kuo-Lin Kao（高國麟） in the outfield...
They also have the best pitching squad in the league too! For starters, Mike Loree Jr. （羅力）have been dominating since 2012, Henry Sosa（索沙）freaked everyone out last year and earned a big money move back to KBO before then returning to the Guardians this season, Shih-Peng Chen（陳仕朋）is a future lefty star, and they have quite a few good 5th starter candidates such as Shih-Hao Wu（吳世豪）and Kuo-Hao Chiang（江國豪）. In relieving, batters will have to hope to have any chance from Yi-Hao Lin（林羿豪）and Wei-Yung Wang（王尉永）, because when the closer Hung-Wen Chen（陳鴻文）comes up, it is like facing a CPBL version of Craig Kimbrel. In short, the Guardians relievers are good.
Batter to watch: Yi-Chuan Lin（林益全）. When you think he's not in a good form, he'll always have ways to strike back as soon as possible.
Pitcher to watch: Hung-Wen Chen（陳鴻文）. As a Brothers fan we hate him since there was issues when he was released by the Brothers, but we haven't really had relievers providing nightmares for so long.
Team info: Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions
Well they're still rebuilding, it is like watching the Marlins or the Pirates play. So if you want to support an underdog that was the most successful team, that's them. They also have a new manager, but it is the inexperienced Yueh-Ping Lin（林岳平）, who's last job was the pitching coach in the minor league for the Lions. In addition to that, last season was a huge turmoil. Lions were not only haunted with injuries (it was like a list of 20 players injured), rumored dispute between players and former manager Kan-Lin Huang（黃甘霖）which saw the end of Huang's career in Lions, and were rock bottom for both half seasons.
Offensively, their key players have been aging fast. If 41 year old Kuo-Ching Kao（高國慶）and 39 year old Wu-Hsiung Pan（潘武雄）appears in the starting lineups frequently, you know the team has problems. Chih-Chieh Su（蘇智傑）has expected to perform as he was the first pick in the 2016 draft, and pressure will also go to Chih-Wei Teng（鄧志偉）to be the successor of Kuo-Ching Kao（高國慶）, even if he is already 32. Lions are not good defensively either, many of their players are young and not confident with their hands and gloves, freaking fans out.
And for some reason, Lions aren't that good in pitching even selecting many pitching prospects in previous drafts, and their rotation still relies on Wei-Lun Pan（潘威倫）, who is 38 and may retire anytime. Relievers, well they focused heavily on Yun-Wen Chen（陳韻文）in the previous years, but probably due to fatigue he slumped heavily towards the end of last season. Ching-Ming Wang（王鏡銘）has also been overused heavily. Other than them, there isn't much left. All Lions fans are hoping for a savior in their pitching squad.
Batter to watch: Chih-Chieh Su（蘇智傑）. He played all 120 games last season the only player to do so in the league, showing that he's extremely important to the team.
Pitcher to watch: Ryan Feiarabend. Well we haven't had any knuckleballers in the league before from what I know, the closest was probably former Mets manager Mickey Callaway who also pitched for the Lions.
If you guys enjoy the league, I'll talk more about the league culture and history in the future.
submitted by fabiokuo