Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions signed LHP Félix Doubront to an unknown contract
The past few years the Uni-Lions have been rich with offense and sorely lacking in pitching. This wasn’t due to any lack of trying. From Donn Roach to Alec Asher the Lions brought in various foreign arms to try and fix their pitching woes. Some succeeded, but the majority failed and it seemed like the Lions would never take the next step needed to compete for a Taiwan Series title thanks to their pitching woes. That all changed during the middle of last season when they brought Tim Melville and Teddy Stankiewicz on board.
The two pitchers excelled and the rest of the rotation improved as the Lions went on a tear to make the playoffs and walk away with a Taiwan Series title. Having realized the importance of pitching the Lions signaled they are all in on the 2021 season with the signing of Félix Doubront. He will join Stankiewicz and Melville to form what the Lions hope is a three-headed monster that will give the rest of the league fits. They should too, because as good as Melville and Stankiewicz have been the past few years, Doubront is the missing piece of the puzzle.
In the past few years, Doubront has seen action in Liga Mexicana de Béisbol, Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional, and Liga Mexicana del Pacífico. The Venezuelan lefty has been as good as any pitcher in any of those leagues. Saraperos de Saltilla had him pegged to be their ace in the 2021 season until better Chinese Professional Baseball League money came calling. In 2020-2021 Doubront has posted an ERA of 3.53 in 58.2 innings between the LMP’s Mayos de Navojoa and LVBP’s Navegantes del Magallanes. Both stints show the promise and the worry with Doubront.
During the first half of the winter league season, Doubront suited up for the Mayos. He was the best pitcher in the LMP during that time frame. His 2.15 ERA and 1.088 WHIP were produced by a pitcher able to locate his fastball and keep hitters guessing. After heading back home with the Navegantes Doubront hit a rough patch; a 6.00 ERA and 1.571 WHIP. The problem with Doubront remains that he is very streaky and when he gets into a bad rut the first thing that goes is his control. Getting out of that rut can be hard and the longer he struggles the worse his command gets.
The Doubront signing has the potential to make the Lions far better than the team that just won the CPBL championship. It all depends on which version of Doubront shows up. If he comes in able to spot his high-80s to low-90s fourseamer and uses his changeup to keep hitters off balance then the Lions will be in great shape. If he struggles with his command then the Lions may find themselves with only a two-headed monster for a rotation. My money is on the former, and if true, the rest of the CPBL is going to hate the Lions rotation all season long.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Meridiano