Foreign pitchers Dan Strayley (35) and Charlie Barnes (28), who were expected to be the core power of the Lotte Giants, are raising concerns at the beginning of the season as they struggled side by side.
Lotte’s starting ERA this season is 5.46 (39 earned runs in 64.1 innings), which is ninth among 10 clubs. Na Kyun-an, who won 3 out of 4 starting wins, struggled alone, but the sluggishness of Strayley and Barnes had a big impact. Strayley had 2 losses without a win in 3 games, and an ERA of 5.74 (10 earned runs in 15.2 innings), while Barnes had 1 loss in 2 games without a win, and an ERA of 10.80 (12 earned runs in 10 innings).안전놀이터
Strayley was the only player in Lotte’s starting lineup last year whose ERA (FIP, 3.94) was higher than ERA (2.31). The FIP calculation formula includes indicators that the pitcher is responsible for, such as home runs, strikeouts, and walks. An ERA higher than that would likely indicate that the defense was under-assisted, but in his case the opposite is true. Unlike the indicators for allowing walks and home runs for four years from 2020, the decrease in the strikeout rate stands out. In 2020, when he ranked first in strikeouts, it was 26.4%, then it gradually went down to 23.0% in 2021 and 21.2% in 2022, and now it has stayed at 16.4%.
The reduction in restraint is also a notable factor. Constraints and strikeouts are highly probable indicators. Including the fastball, the velocity of the main pitches, the curveball, slider, and changeup, all went down. According to KBO’s official record statistics company, Sports 2I, the average speed of all pitches was 139.5 km per hour in 2021, but slowed to 136.5 km in 2022 and 134.1 km in 2023. Among them, the curve, which he mainly mixed when striking out, increased the movement up and down to -20.6 cm compared to the previous year (-18.5 cm), but the effect of the fastball slowed by 1.1 km seems to be considerable. Lotte coach Larry Sutton is hoping for a jagged improvement in command and a change in pitching pattern.
Even in Barnes, the ace aspect of last year is not visible. Of particular concern is that he allowed 16 hits in two games, 10 innings. However, as he first learned the know-how as a full-time starting pitcher last year, there is a high possibility of trial and error. Commentator Kim Seon-woo said, “If the pitching condition is in the process of improving, it can produce sluggish results or raise concerns. He pointed out that if the rotation becomes more familiar and thorough management at the club level follows, it can change.”
These two players should be Lotte’s constants, not variables. The reason Lotte chose to accompany the two early on without recruiting a new foreign pitcher last year was because they wanted to reduce variables. This season, Lotte is desperate to advance to the postseason (PS). It’s still only the beginning of the season, but it’s clear that it’s time for a change for the two.