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League Primer

League Primer: Future League

Soon after the Chinese Professional Baseball League season starts the Future League (CFL) also begins their season. Learn all about the CPBL’s minor league.

History

The CFL started play in 2003. At first, it was a mixed league with some CPBL prospects and national level youth players. Now it’s strictly a CPBL farm league with each team having an affiliation to a main CPBL team. The exception being the Wei-Chuan Dragons, a CPBL expansion team spending their 2020 season in the CFL before graduating to the CPBL in 2021.

Format

The regular season of the CFL is 80 games long. It begins on March 17th and lasts until the middle of October. The top two teams square off in the best-of-five games Future Series after the conclusion of the regular season. Traditional baseball rules are followed with the exception that all games tied after 9 innings are ruled a draw. Every team uses a designated hitter. Since the CFL is a farm league for the CPBL, teams shuttle players back and forth between their CFL and CPBL teams. Typically every CFL team can only have one foreigner at a time, and the overall roster is 60 players, including those in the CPBL, but the active roster is around 36 players.

Level of Play

The scale,

ML
AAAA
AAA
AA
A

Rookie

The CPBL is an A-level league and the CFL is the farm system for that league. Though there are some players in the CFL who are A-level talents, and maybe even better, the status of the CFL as a feeder league and the raw nature of most of the players makes it a Rookie-level league.

Teams

  • Chinatrust Brothers-farm
  • Fubon Guardians-farm
  • Rakuten Monkeys-farm
  • Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions-farm
  • Wei-Chuan Dragons

Statistics

The CPBL website keeps statistics for all current and past CFL seasons. Outside of that, there is no repository for CFL stats. Baseball Reference does not keep any CFL statistics.

People to Follow

Unfortunately, no one really covers or engages in any CFL tracking or discussions online. If you’re already following someone who writes or posts about the CPBL a lot then maybe you’ll get the occasional news bit, but that’s about all you can find online.

Websites

The CFL does not have a website or any sort of social media presence.

Streaming

Some CFL games are streamed online. CPBL TV live streams, and offers archives of, all CFL games that take place on Friday through Sunday. They also stream every Future Series game. Since this is tied into the existing CPBL package, the cost is $35 a year. But, for that price, you get all those CFL games, every CPBL game, and every game of the Asia Winter Baseball League as well. CPBL Stats has a great guide on how to sign up for CPBL TV.

Special thanks to Rob for his research assistance.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), boyfriend, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Baseball Prospectus, Baseball.FYI, & Beyond the Box Score. Member Internet Baseball Writer's Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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