The mid-table Kia Tigers took extraordinary measures to overhaul their roster. The team has given its struggling starters and closers time to regain their form.
The Tigers removed foreign pitcher Sean Anderson, 29, and reliever Jung Hae-young, 22, along with first baseman Hwang Dae-in, 27, and left-handed bullpen pitcher Kim Dae-yoo, 32, from the first team roster on Monday.
Anderson struggled in May, going 3-3 with a 7.71 ERA in four starts. Only one of his starts lasted more than five innings, against the Samsung Lions on the 16th. He faced the most hits (10) in his KBO debut against the Hanwha Eagles on 23 May.메이저놀이터
In six starts in April, Anderson went 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA, making him the No. 1 option in the KIA lineup. He even earned the nickname “Gwangju Thor” (a Marvel character) because of his long blonde hair and heavy delivery.
However, his four-seam fastball and his main weapon, a slider, have faltered significantly since May. After totalling just six walks in April, his strikeouts soared to 16 in May.
It wasn’t an injury. The only variable was the spacing of his appearances. Kia was rained out for four games after the Lotte Giants on the 3rd. Anderson also had to go 10 days after the 29th of last month against the LG Twins.
The club’s diagnosis is a pitching balance issue. Kia manager Kim Jong-kook said, “Both his fastball and changeup are shaky. The power analysis team and pitching coaches have found something wrong with his pitches, and he knows it,” Kim said.
Kim Jong-kook had hoped that Anderson would improve his issues by pitching out of the bullpen, but it didn’t work out. Eventually, he dropped the foreign pitcher from the first team due to injury. The team decided that Anderson’s pitching balance was a priority.
The same goes for Jeong Hae-young. He is the league’s “young gun closer” with 67 saves in his third year. His fastball has a good finish and his slider and forkball are also highly regarded. This season, however, he hasn’t pitched with much confidence, with his average fastball velocity dropping from 144.6 km/h last season to 141.1 km/h this season.
The club has already spotted a problem with Jeong. Manager Kim Jong-kook said before the game against Hanwha on the 25th, “We’ve noticed the difference between when he’s balanced and when he’s not. However, it will be difficult to fix the problem in the actual game, where we need to focus on the batters in front of us.”
For a while, Jeong tried to work on her pre-match long toss, even when she wasn’t playing. However, she was unable to make any changes in practice. Eventually, the coach gave her time to make adjustments.
Until last week, KIA was sixth in the league with 20 wins and 22 losses. They were as high as fourth place at one point, but have been unable to make a move. With no time to spare, the team acted quickly to take two steps forward.