SSG, which accomplished the great feat of winning the first ‘Wire-to-Wire’ integrated championship in the history of the KBO League, the front desk and coaching staff gathered before the excitement was over and entered the selection of foreign players. This is the time when the principled possibility that “all three can change” sparked a fire.
Juan Lagares played well, but lacked impact. Sean Morimando has become a player who has to think about renewing his contract due to his sluggish performance in the Korean Series. Wilmer Font has already announced his intention to go to the United States. In particular, the pitcher had a lot of trouble. The heavy responsibility to fill the gap between font and Morimando fell.
As a substitute foreign player for Morimando, Kirk McCarty was dropped early. Although he is small, it was evaluated that he threw a powerful ball. SSG director Kim Won-hyung liked it. He didn’t think size mattered. The problem was the alternate resource of the font. In a situation where Font played an ace-level performance representing the league, the alternative had to be high-level. In the first place, McCarty was a substitute for Morimando, not a substitute for fonts.
What SSG paid attention to was the ‘guy’. I prefer strong players. It may have been an inevitable step for the team that felt the ‘font effect’ the most. However, the power pitchers selected in the United States tended to be somewhat burdensome because they had flaws or threw attractive pitches but had no major league experience. At that time, they heard that Eni Romero (32), 토토 who played for Chiba Lotte last year, was coming to the market, and SSG quickly began collecting information on Romero.
All of this year’s game videos were summarized to the main points and delivered to the front desk and coaching staff, and data-wise, they were thoroughly analyzed. According to data obtained by SSG, Romero’s best four-seam fastball speed last year was 154 km/h, with an average of 148 km. It wasn’t the old look of throwing a strong ball that reached 160 km, but he saw it as a level that could work well enough in the KBO league. Besides, he was a left-handed fire bowler who was said to bring him from hell.
Here, the best two-seam fastball was 152km, and the average was 146km, keeping pace. The slider was formed from an average of 132 km to 139 km, and it was confirmed that the changeup reached an average of 134 km and a maximum of 140 km. The average curve was about 129 km.
One thing I noticed was that despite being left-handed, his performance against left-handed opponents was poor. His batting average against left-handed batters reached 0.320 compared to last year’s 0.208 against right-handed batters. There was also a discussion within SSG about this. As a result, “Based on the expected OPS standard, the fastball was more effective against left-handed hitters than the slider. In Japan, the percentage of sliders against left-handed hitters was high, so it would be good to increase the percentage of fastballs.”
According to information obtained by SSG, Romero’s slider use rate against left-handed hitters reached 50%. On the other hand, the fastball system was 44%. Considering that the rate of using the fastball system against right-handed hitters is 65%, it can be seen that it relied too much on breaking balls against left-handed hitters. I came to the conclusion that as long as I have a powerful fastball, I can improve enough if I correct these parts well. It was also highly evaluated that he showed all five breaking balls in practice.
Even the sabermatrix analysis value was mobilized to look at Romero’s records, and enough videos were secured and delivered to the coaching staff. The coaching staff also gave Romero’s pitch a passing grade. After more than 15 days of negotiations, the contract was eventually signed.
Romero recorded an average ERA of 3.36 in 20 games this season. He didn’t get full-time top grade, but his grades in Japan weren’t that bad. It is not easy to win 8 starts in Japan, and even Raul Alcantara (Doosan), a former KBO League MVP, could not do it. In the physical examination, it was also carefully checked that it was pointed out that he was suffering from poor physical condition, such as an injury. There were rumors that there was a problem with his shoulder, but SSG is confident that “there is no problem”. If Font showed the essence of a right-handed fireballer last year, attention is focusing on whether the opposite-armed foreigner will be able to conquer the KBO League this year.