The Hanwha Eagles are dreaming of a one-two punch with the strongest fastball ever.
The main characters are foreign pitcher Birch Smith (33) and second-year Mun Dong-ju (20). Smith and Moon Dong-ju have virtually confirmed their starting positions. Coach Carlos Subero mentioned Moon Dong-ju as a starting pitcher for the opening game during the spring camp held in Mesa, Arizona, USA.
These are super fastball fireballers who throw fastballs with a maximum speed of 155 km. In the history of the KBO League, there is no team in which two starting pitchers have kept a full-time rotation by throwing fastballs of more than 155 km at the same time.
Foreign pitchers Redames Leeds and Henry Sosa, who played for the LG Twins in the early and mid-2010s, threw fastballs of up to 160 km, but the two did not eat rice together. The time when I was active at LG was different.
From 2003 to 2010, the KIA Tigers had a number of fastball pitchers with a maximum speed of over 150 km, such as Kim Jin-woo, Han Ki-joo, Lee Beom-seok, Yoon Seok-min, Yang Hyeon-jong, and Aquilino Lopez, but they could not build a perfect rotation with them.
Smith and Moon Dong-ju have an average velocity of over 150 km and a maximum velocity of over 155 km.
Hanwha’s team average ERA last year was the lowest at 4.83, but the starter’s average ERA was even worse at 4.88, which was far from the 9th place Samsung Lions (4.22). For Hanwha, who is dreaming of an emergency this year, the chances of making the top 5 are slim unless the rotation is set up right away. If two fastball pitchers lead the starting lineup stably, it will inevitably become a great force.
First of all, Smith is the No. 1 starter that Hanwha has brought in with the maximum amount of $1 million for new foreign investors. He has played both the major leagues and the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
Last year, he pitched in 20 games (4 starts) for the Seibu Lions, recording 1 win, 4 holds, 1 save and an ERA of 3.29. In the major leagues, he posted an average ERA of 6.03 with 5 wins and 11 losses in 6 teams, the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals. In his major league career, he wasn’t very eye-catching.
Smith’s strength is his fastball that can travel over 150km. He shot a high of 98.8 miles (159.0 km) at Kansas City in 2018, and threw a high of 97.2 miles (156.4 km) and an average of 93.4 miles (150.3 km) in 2021. In Seibu last year, he also used an average of 151km and a maximum of 156km fastball. His fastball ratio is over 60%, and he mixes his curveball and changeup. He pulled it up to 150 km at spring camp in Mesa, Arizona, USA. Due to the nature of a foreign pitcher, he is expected to pick up his pace in the latter half of the exhibition game. 슬롯사이트
Moon Dong-ju debuted last year and showed an average of 151.8 km and a maximum of 157 km. He went 1-3 in 28⅔ innings in 13 games (4 starting games), with an ERA of 5.65.
As it was the first season, it was a possibility test. At this Arizona camp, he took the mound in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) against the Dutch national team on the 20th and threw a fastball with an average of 152 km and a maximum of 156 km while giving no hits and no runs in 1⅔ innings. Moon Dong-joo, along with Kim Min-woo and Jang Min-jae, are counted as local starting pitchers.
If Smith and Dong-Joo Moon establish themselves with a one-two punch, the game this season could fluctuate differently than expected with Hanwha at the center.