Chien-San Kao

From BR Bullpen

Chien-San Kao (高建三)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 205 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Chien-San Kao had been a pitcher in the Chinese Professional Baseball League for 18 years.

Kao pitched for Taiwan in the 1991 World Junior Championship, 1994 Baseball World Cup (6 runs, 7 hits in 4 2/3 innings) and the 1994 Asian Games. After college, he joined the China Trust Whales. He debuted for the Whales in 1998, with a save and a 4.16 ERA in 17 games. In 1999, Kao went 4-2 with a save and a 2.44 ERA. He improved to 7-4 with five saves and a 2.45 ERA in 2000, finishing 5th in ERA (.83 behind Mark Kiefer). In the 2000 CPBL All-Star Game, Kao relieved Chang-Heng Hsieh in the 4th inning and pitched 2 shutout innings. He was a starting pitcher in 2001 and was 12-10 with a 2.95 ERA. Kao led the league in complete games, ranking 3rd in wins (6 behind John Burgos), 6th in ERA (1.55 behind Jen-Wen Hsiao) and 4th in strikeouts (27 behind Tetsu Yofu).

The Taitung native was 4-3 with two saves and a 3.97 ERA in 2002. He pitched 2 shutout innings in the 2002 CPBL All-Star Game and got the win. In the 2002 Taiwan Series, he pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in Game 2, then he started in Game 3. Kao allowed 3 runs in 4 2/3 innings, and he ended up no-decision. The Brothers swept the Whales. The veteran right-hander was 8-5 with four saves and a 3.81 ERA in 2003.

Kao posted a 10-11, 2.91 record in 2004 to place 9th in ERA, between Shin Nakagomi and Cory Bailey. He slumped to 5-7, 4.16 in 2005, then he fell to 3-9, 5.40 in 2006. He was 1-2, 7.40 in 2007, then the Whales released him. The Uni-President Lions picked him up in 2008 and made a huge turnaround, with his best ERA yet (2.39). He was 2-3 with 10 holds, ranked 7th in appearances (4 behind Yu-Chieh Shen) and 2nd in holds (4 behind Po-Chang Shen). Kao went 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 2009; he pitched 66 games as a reliever to set a new CPBL record, breaking the record of 62 held by Ming-Chin Lee. He held the record only one year before Chao-Hao Tseng broke it. He also notched a hold with a shutout inning in the 2009 CPBL All-Star Game. In the 2009 Taiwan Series, Kao allowed 2 runs in 2 1/3 innings in 2 games, and the Lions beat the Brother Elephants in 7 games.

The veteran reliever was still reliable in 2010. He collected 10 holds with a 3.35 ERA, and he pitched 42 games. Kao was selected into the 2011 CPBL All-Star Game, and he pitched a shutout inning. He set 2 records in the 2011 season as a middle-inning reliever. He became the all-time CPBL holds leader on June 3, then he broke the CPBL record with his 26th hold in a season on September 30. He ended up having a 3.58 ERA with 26 holds in the 2011 season, and he led the league in holds. In the 2011 Taiwan Series, Kao notched 2 holds in 4 games, and his ERA was 3.00 among 3 innings. The Lions beat the Lamigo Monkeys in 5 games.

Kao led the league in holds again with 20 in 2012, and his ERA was 3.62 in 53 appearances. He pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings in 3 games in the 2012 Taiwan Series, but the lost to the Monkeys in 5 games. Kao improved to 3-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 59 games in 2013, and he also collected 25 holds. He ranked 2nd in holds (7 behind CPBL single-season record holder Hiroki Sanada) and 3rd in appearances (8 behind Sanada). He only pitched an inning in the 2013 Taiwan Series, and the Lions beat the Monkeys again. Kao had a 4.08 ERA in 33 games in 2014, then his ERA was 4.09 in 11 games in 2015. He announced his retirement after the 2015 season, and became a coach. He coached the Lions from 2016 to 2019, and he managed their minor league team from 2020 to 2021.

Overall, Kao was 70-76 with a 3.46 ERA, notched 118 holds and 15 saves in 636 appearances, struck out 861 and pitched 1,383 2/3 innings in 18 seasons in the CPBL. As of 2023, he ranked 1st in appearances (108 ahead of Yu-Hsun Chen), 11th in wins (78 behind Wei-Lun Pan), 3rd in holds (7 behind Chen), 5th in innings (712 behind Pan) and 4th in strikeouts (425 behind Osvaldo Martínez).