The KBO League has a very large proportion of foreign players. It is no exaggeration to say that a year’s farming depends on the performance of foreign players, who can have up to three players per team. In terms of domestic players alone, it is not uncommon for a team with top-ranked players to fail to win due to the sluggishness or injury of a foreign player. On the other hand, even if the composition of domestic players is somewhat lacking, there are some teams that achieve better results than expected thanks to the great performance of foreign players.
Whether a foreign player is active or not has nothing to do with performance or name value in other leagues, so it is sometimes compared to ‘lottery’. Therefore, there are few teams that do not replace foreign players during the season. Not many teams renew contracts with all three foreign players after the season ends. However, the Samsung Lions renewed the contract with all three foreign players formed at the start of this season.
On the 7th, Samsung announced that it had renewed the contract with foreign pitcher Buchanan for a total of $1.6 million, Suarez for $1.3 million, and foreign hitter Pirella for $1.7 million. Starting next year, a salary cap for foreign players will be implemented in the KBO League. Attention was focused on whether Samsung could catch all three foreign players, but the club and players succeeded in finding an agreement.
Buchanan continued to serve as an ace, winning the most wins in the team with an ERA of 11-8 and an average ERA of 3.04 and OPS (on-base percentage + batting average) of 0.704. The WAR (based on the KB Report), which represents the contribution to victory compared to the substitute player, was 3.45. Buchanan, who has played for Samsung since 2020, will have his 4th season next year.
Suarez was 6-8 with an ERA of 2.49 and an OPS of 0.583. However, with a WAR of 5.73, he ranked 1st among pitchers on the team and 5th among 안전놀이터 pitchers in the league, and the renewal of the contract was taken for granted. Suarez, who played for the first time in the KBO League this year, will play his second season next year.
With a batting average of 0.342, 28 home runs, and 109 RBIs, an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.976, Pirella won the Golden Glove in the outfield category with the best performance among foreign hitters in the 10 clubs. His WAR of 7.32 ranks second among fielders in the league. Pirella, who will enter the third season of the KBO League next year, is expected to keep Samsung’s central batting line unchanged.
However, Samsung’s prospects for next year are not very bright even with all three ‘filial sons and daughters’ accompanying them. While Stove League did not recruit outside free agents, Kim Sang-soo and Oh Seon-jin acquired free agency qualifications and transferred to other teams, so they could not avoid a power outflow. Since Kim Sang-soo and Oh Seon-jin are veteran players who played various positions in the infield, there is a high risk that the Samsung infield will weaken further next year.
The age of the overall key players is also a concern for Samsung. Although the proportion of veterans is high across pitching, the growth of young players has not been very noticeable. Next season, the first year of coach Park Jin-man’s inauguration, is highly likely to be a thorny road. It remains to be seen whether Samsung will find a way out through trade throughout the winter and whether dramatic power reinforcement will be possible as a result.
Samsung ranked 7th this year despite having Buchanan, Suarez and Pirella. Next year, attention is paid to whether Samsung will succeed in fall baseball as foreign players continue to play an active role and even domestic players exert themselves.