Aaron Wilkerson (34), the main character to lead the starting lineup for the second half of the Lotte Giants this season. What do the pitching coaches who are supposed to guide him think?
Lotte Pitching Coach Kim Hyun-wook (53) met with Star News at the Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on the 19th and said, “The club recruited a good player,” and “Dan Straley has the good side of him.”
Previously, Lotte signed a contract with Wilkerson the day before for a total of $350,000 (250,000 annual salary, $100,000 in options). Wilkerson, a right-handed pitcher with a height of 188 cm and a weight of 104 kg, appeared in 14 games over three seasons in the major leagues and recorded 1 win and 1 loss with an ERA of 6.88. In the minor leagues, he showed a decent record with an average ERA of 3.42 with 58 wins and 31 losses in 158 games (133 starts).
Wilkerson threw a variety of pitches, including fastballs, cutters, sliders, curveballs, and changeups, and his fastball speed this season reached an average speed of 146km/h and a maximum of 150km/h. His stable command was also impressive, with 9.3 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per 9 innings in his minor league career.
Coach Kim evaluated, “It seems difficult to see it as a power pitcher type, and instead, I think it has the same average as Strayley when it was good.” Strayley, who was recently expelled, was a player who played a big role, recording the most wins (15 wins) and the most strikeouts 스포츠토토(205) among Lotte foreign pitchers in 2020. According to coach Kim’s expectation, an ace will appear.
At the same time, Coach Kim expressed his thoughts, “Looking at the strikeout rate and walk rate, I wonder if it will work well in Korea.” He cited the fact that “American hitters tend to hit relatively fast, but Korean hitters put up with a lot of manned pitches.” Coach Kim, who said, “I think the tendency of foreign batters and Korean batters will be different,” said, “I wonder if there is a difference in how to adapt accordingly.”
Wilkerson recorded 5 wins, 5 losses and an ERA of 4.08 in 14 games as a member of the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) last year. In particular, he won the Central League Monthly MVP with 3 wins and an earned run average of 1.04 in 4 games in May. The Lotte club also said, “We highly evaluated the ability to adapt to Asian baseball obtained through the experience of Japanese professional baseball.”
Coach Kim also said, “I’m looking at it with hope (having Japanese baseball experience).” He said, “I clearly showed good pitches and pitches enough to win the monthly MVP. Also, there was a Corona 19 issue (confirmed in August), and I wonder if I could adapt enough if I was free from it.”
Strayley struggled with innings this season as his pitching was shaky. Appearing in 16 games in the first half, he played only 80⅓ innings and only threw about 5 innings per game. After all, Wilkerson also needs the ability to digest innings. Coach Kim said, “It is true that foreign pitchers are not able to fill the number of innings in Lotte this year compared to domestic starters, so it is true that middle pitchers are overloaded.” revealed the wind.
Coach Kim said, “What we want is the 2020 Strays,” and said, “There will be some difficulties because we are in the middle, but we will help as much as we can.” “I’m raising my expectations,” he said, “if you start 14 to 15 games, I want you to win all the games you start.” It is my wish to give it to you,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wilkerson will enter Korea on the 19th, go through necessary administrative procedures and adjust his condition, and then decide on his start date. Foreign hitter Nico Gudrum (31), who was recruited earlier on the 11th, is currently training with fellow players at Sajik Baseball Stadium to adjust his condition.