The composition of foreign pitchers in the Lotte Giants is “stable” instead of “adventure.” Foreign pitchers have chosen to minimize the number of variables.
Lotte manager Kim Tae-hyung presented guidelines on the composition of foreign pitchers as soon as he took office. As he was assigned to a new team, he wanted stability rather than adventure. Upon taking office, Kim wanted foreign pitchers Charlie Barnes and Aaron Wilkerson to stay.
“Both Barnes and Wilkerson are pitchers with stable ball control and good game management,” he said. “I’ve watched many foreign pitchers while working as a manager, but I can’t get used to them even if I have good data and records. I think Barnes and Wilkerson are stable pitchers these days.”
The club had similar views and both Barnes and Wilkerson stayed as manager Kim Tae-hyung wished. Wilkerson was the first foreign player among the 10 teams to sign his contract on Nov. 16. He renewed his contract for 950,000 U.S. dollars (down payment of 150,000 dollars, annual salary of 600,000 dollars, incentive of 200,000 dollars). Barnes also expressed his intention to challenge to the Major League, but eventually chose to stay at Lotte. Barnes signed a total of 1.35 million dollars (guarantee amount of 1.2 million dollars, incentive amount of 150,000 dollars).헤라카지노
The club also said, “What I have been agonizing over while composing foreign players is the sense of stability. As we start the season, we have to pay the bill. Of course, it would be “high risk, high return,” but Barnes and Wilkerson are proven to some extent.” With the foreign player market at its worst, it was virtually impossible to find a player the size of Wilkerson and Barnes again.
The two pitchers are stable. However, they are not the type to boast of their prowess as a top-rated ace by overwhelming them with pitches. This means that they are not definitely first-tier pitchers. Instead, they are the type of pitchers who can stably maintain their rotation and take responsibility for 144 games. Rather than first-tier ones, they should be seen as second-tier pitchers.
However, Wilkerson and Barnes were the best two punches in the league, limited to the second half of the season. In terms of records and content, Wilkerson and Barnes overwhelmed other clubs’ one-two punches.
Wilkerson, who joined Dan Straley as a substitute from the second half of the year, made a soft landing in the KBO League, leaving 13 games with 7 wins and 2 losses with an ERA of 2.26 (20 earned runs in 79 ⅔ innings), 81 strikeouts, and 1.09 allowed on-base per inning (WHIP). All 13 games played more than five innings and recorded quality starts (more than six innings and less than three earned runs) in 11 games, three of which were quality start plus (more than seven innings and less than three earned runs).
Based on his four-seam fastballs with an average speed of 144.1 km and a vertical movement of 26.1 cm, he penetrated aggressively. His combination of cutter, changeup, and slider allowed him to control his ball across the board line, making him a powerful starting pitcher in the second half of the season. He struck out 9.15 times per nine innings, exceeding one per inning, and walked only 2.26 times per nine innings, displaying stable ball control.
In his first season in the KBO League last year, Barnes successfully adapted to the record of 12 wins and 12 losses with an ERA of 3.62 (186 ⅓ innings and 75 earned runs). In his second season this year, he also finished the season with 11 wins and 10 losses with an ERA of 3.28 (170 ⅓ innings and 62 earned runs). Notably, he pitched well in the second half of 14 games with six wins and four losses with an ERA of 2.05 (20 earned runs in 87 ⅔ innings). Just like Wilkerson, he had 11 quality starts and three quality starts plus.
If Lotte continues its performance in the second half of this year throughout the upcoming 2024 season, it will see stable choices come into play. Manager Kim Tae-hyung will also be able to solve the season more easily without agonizing over the starting lineup.
Still, we should not be confident that last season’s performance will continue. In any case, new variables are likely to lurk in the new season. The pitch clock and automatic ball judging system, which will be introduced next year, are likely to serve as new criteria for assessing the capability of all foreign pitchers. Wilkerson, in particular, experienced pitch clock and automatic ball judging systems in the minor league system, but the results were not very good. “It was hard to adapt,” he admitted himself. Above all, Wilkerson’s full-time season has yet to be verified.
Barnes has been a consistent pitcher in record time. However, he has not been consistent throughout the year, given the duration of his pitching. He was a well-calculated pitcher in the second half of this year, but suffered trial and error in the first half as he failed to adapt to his new pitching form. He hardly acted as an ace due to his fluctuating pitching. The 2022 season was the opposite. In the first half, he often had powerful matches due to rotation of four days off. However, he had to finish the season early as his physical strength declined sharply in the second half. Barnes also needs to prove his full-time performance.