Did the Lotte Giants meet a real foreign ace after 3 years?
The Lotte Giants,스포츠토토who had a nightmare of June and July, are slowly starting to stretch in August. At the center is pitcher Aaron Wilkerson, who joined as a substitute outsider.
Dan Strayley is the last Lotte foreigner who was an ace based on the full season in 2020. At that time, Strayley started in 31 games and digested 194⅔ innings with an overwhelming pitching performance of 15 wins and 4 losses with an ERA of 2.50.
He was a pitcher worthy of competing with Raul Alcantara (Doosan Bears), who won the Pitcher Golden Glove in the same year. Alcantara started in 31 games (one complete game) that year, recording 20 wins and 2 losses with an ERA of 2.54 in 198⅔ innings. Considering the team strength of Doosan, which competed for the championship with the NC Dinos in the Korean Series, and Lotte, which finished in 7th place, the value of Strayley was enormous.
Strayley wore a Lotte uniform until 2021, the second half of 2022, and the first half of 2023, but in the meantime, he couldn’t show a comparable figure in 2020. In the meantime, the pitchers who passed Lotte were Adrian Sampson, Anderson Franco, Glenn Sparkman, and Charlie Barnes. Here is Wilkerson, who replaced Straley this season.
Sampson had human circumstances that overlapped with his father’s work in the aftermath of Corona 19, but as a result, he could not repay Lotte’s consideration with his skills. Franco and Sparkman also had good fastball speed, but they were far from the 1st and 2nd starting ace awards due to problems with control and mentality. Barnes used to show an ace-level good pitching in the league from time to time on a monthly basis, but he could not continue it consistently.
First of all, Wilkerson has only thrown 4 games yet. He is not the type of pitcher who overwhelms and presses batters.
However, the sense of stability that Wilkerson shows is unique. On July 26, his KBO League debut, he broke his first win tape with 5 innings and 2 runs against Doosan. His pitch count was only 76.
On the first day of August, against the NC Dinos, he recorded his first quality start (6 innings or more and 3 earned or less) with 3 runs in 6 innings. If it had not been for the disappointing defense of Ahn Kwon-soo in the middle, it is highly likely that the number of conceded runs would have decreased further.
In the match against SSG Landers on the 6th, after a fierce pitching battle with Kirk McCarty, he pitched 7 scoreless innings. He failed to win two games in a row, but his fast pitching tempo and stable command were enough to earn the team’s trust.
And Lotte coach Larry Sutton declared Wilkerson-Barnes’ 4-day break rotation as the number of wins in August. On the first day, Wilkerson again satisfied the command tower with six scoreless innings. The last 14 consecutive scoreless innings.
After two outs in the top of the 3rd inning, the runner with a balk following Kim Do-young’s hit went to the scoring position, but he cut off the follow-up hit without faltering. After one out in the top of the 4th inning, Choi Hyeong-woo and Socrates showed off their power by striking out Lee Woo-seong one after another in the first and second bases, which were greeted with consecutive hits. In the 6th episode, he also showed off his seasoned beauty by double killing Choi Hyung-woo at 1 company and 1 base.
If Lotte, which fell to the 7th place in the leaderboard and the win-lose margin of -6, succeeds in the ‘August counterattack’, wouldn’t Wilkerson be the vanguard?