Hanwha lost $800,000 in guaranteed annual salary when foreign pitcher Birch Smith, who was the starter for the opening game, was released after 60 pitches in 2⅔ innings due to shoulder pain. Although he suffered a big setback from the start of the season, Ricardo Sanchez (26), who was quickly recruited at 400,000 dollars, half the price of Smith, is becoming a blessing in disguise as he hits the jackpot.
Sanchez, who debuted in the KBO League on the 11th of last month, made a quick soft landing with 3 wins and an undefeated ERA of 1.39 in 6 games. He pitched 32⅓ innings, striking out 28 while giving up only six walks. His detailed record is also excellent with a WHIP of 0.84 and a batting average of 108.3. Hanwha won all six games with Sanchez.메이저사이트
In particular, in the match against Daejeon LG on the 10th, he showed the best pitching with 2 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, and no runs in 8 innings. Six left-handed hitters intensively attacked the body against the intensively deployed LG lineup. Only against left-handed batters, he led six infield grounders, including two double hits. Moon Bo-kyung in the 2nd inning and Shin Min-jae in the 3rd inning hit Sanchez’s fastball with a ground ball to second base.
The next day, LG coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop said, “Our batters didn’t have a sense of hitting, but Sanchez’s ball was really good. The left-handed hitter’s game is effective. Our left-handed hitters aren’t weak against left-handed pitchers, but when a ball from close to 150km came toward us, the batted ball came out. He has good pitching mechanics and balance, so he is not a pitcher who collapses with one big inning. It seems that Hanwha brought a good pitcher,” he highly praised Sanchez.
When Hanwha recruited Sanchez, they paid attention to this aspect. Kim Jin-young, a former pitcher and overseas scout for Hanwha, said, “The throwing mechanic is good, and I paid attention to the aggressive game with a focus on fastballs.” In the KBO, there are not many left-handed pitchers who throw toward left-handed hitters. Sanchez does that,” he said.
Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho also said, “In Korea, there are very few left-handed pitchers who attack left-handed batters. He said that he practiced that part a lot since he was in America. His fastball movement is clean, so he seems to have a desire to use the course.”
It is standard for left-handed pitchers in Korea to step on the first base side of the pitching board and look toward the body of the right-handed batter and the outside of the left-handed batter. However, Sanchez steps on the center of the pitch and consistently throws the ball close to the body of the left-handed hitter. It is a style that has no choice but to see the light in the KBO league, where there are many excellent left-handed hitters.
Since he is an uncommon type of pitcher in the KBO league, left-handed hitters have a hard time. Among pitchers who have faced left-handed hitters more than 50 times, only two lefties have a lower batting average than Sanchez (.200): NC Koo Chang-mo (.189) and KIA Lee Eui-ri (.194). Sanchez’s OPS (.459) is lower than Koo Chang-mo’s (.512) and Lee Eui-ri’s (.584).
Sanchez said, “It is very difficult for a left-handed pitcher to throw toward a left-handed hitter. It took me quite a while to learn how to navigate the course, but I learned it through practice and was able to apply it to the game. If the left-handed pitcher’s ball goes well into the left-handed hitter’s body, it’s difficult to get a strong hit, so I’m actively using it.”
Above all, Hanwha is continuing the winning formula with a 100% win rate with six wins on the day Sanchez came out. Director Choi Won-ho said, “The tempo is fast and the strike rate is high, so the attack power of the fielders seems to increase a little more.” Sanchez’s high-speed interval, which immediately pitches as soon as he receives the ball, is also rare in the KBO league. Although the Hanwha batting line is at the bottom of the league in this category with an average of 3.8 points per game, on the day Sanchez took the mound, it exploded with 8.9 points per 9 innings.