After returning to the postseason last year, KIA made one major decision ahead of this season to aim higher. They replaced two players who finished the season with foreign pitchers last year.
It was a risky move. Sean Nolin and Thomas Pannoni didn’t perform too badly last year. Nolin went 8-8 with a 2.47 ERA in 21 games, and Panoni, who was brought in as a replacement foreign player, went 3-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 14 games. It was the kind of performance that would have garnered them both consideration for re-signing. But Kia wanted stronger relief.
Nolin and Panoni weren’t power pitchers by any stretch of the imagination. They were left-handed and averaged in the low-to-mid 140s. While they were reliable, they weren’t the type of pitchers who could overwhelm their opponents with power, which meant that when they struggled, their innings were somewhat short. Seeing this, KIA took a gamble by bringing in Shawn Anderson and Adonis Medina, both of whom can throw over 150 kilometers per hour, to change the lineup of foreign pitchers.
As expected, their velocity wasn’t that bad. They could hit 150+ mph anytime they wanted to, but their performance didn’t match their control. Anderson struggled with no decisive pitches besides his slider, while Medina didn’t utilize his stuff well and threw wild pitches. Both players also struggled with walks at key moments, especially Medina.
Anderson was the better of the two, with a 2.96 strikeouts per nine innings, which isn’t too bad, but it’s a different story when you take away his strong April performance. In May, he walked a whopping 16 batters in 16 1/3 innings. It was the walks that started Anderson down the path to the exits. Not to mention Medina. His walk rate reached 4.50 walks per nine innings. It’s hard to believe. Add to that the fact that neither player was able to strike out as many batters as expected, and you have a recipe for disaster.
However, the new foreign pitchers don’t seem to have this problem. Mario Sanchez and Panoni, who were acquired one after the other, have shown the potential to be free of the strikeout problem. They haven’t had much trouble with walks.
Panoni walked 2.61 batters per nine innings last year, which isn’t a lot. He also had a decent strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.04. This year, he’s only given up two four-pitchers in his first nine innings. He’s still not 100% healthy, but we can expect him to maintain his level of performance from last year.
It’s also worth noting Sanchez’s performance in a KIA uniform after playing in Taiwan. In three games this season, Sanchez is 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 18 innings pitched. While you may not be happy with his ERA, he’s at least shown that he’s a pitcher that counts.
His strikeout-to-walk ratio is particularly impressive, which is usually a leading indicator of a pitcher’s performance. Sanchez struck out 23 batters in 18 innings, while walking just one. While this 23.00 ratio may not be sustainable, it should at least give you some confidence that he’s not as likely to self-destruct with walks as Medina. 메이저사이트
The two have combined for just three walks in 27 innings pitched. If they keep this up, we can expect to see steady results in the future. Kia manager Kim Jong-guk also gives them a pass for their reliability. Panoni has the form he showed last year, and Sanchez is on track.
“It’s the same with any pitcher. You can get a hit, you can get a home run, but a strikeout or a ball hit to the body is the start of a big inning, and when you give up a run, it’s always a strikeout.” Both players throw fewer four-pitchers and are less likely to accumulate as many runners on base, which means they’re less likely to have a one-hit wonder. This could mean that their performances will be more calculated going forward, which could be a relief for KIA as they try to catch up to the top teams.