SOUTH KOREA – The 2011 KBO baseball season has been underwa for several weeks now, so I thought I would take a look at how the foreign players are doing.
For the league leading SK Wyverns, Gary Glover and Jim Magrane are having solid seasons on the mound. Glover has pitched very good but has not figured into a decision yet. Through 4 starts, Gary has a 3.22 ERA having thrown 22.1 innings giving up only 18 hits along the way. Jim Magrane has done just as well for the league’s top team. Magrane, who came over from Taiwan, has started 3 games and has a 1-0 record to go with his 3.29 ERA while striking out 14 in 13.2 innings.
In Seoul, the Doosan Bears are off to a good start and a lot of that has to do with their new ace Dustin Nippert. Nippert, who pitched with the Texas Rangers last year, is off to a great start. In 4 starts, Nippert is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA (which leads all foreign pitchers). In 22 innings, Nippert has given up 19 hits and struck out 22. Currently he is the sole foreign player for the Bears after Ramon Ramirez was released earlier this season without having thrown a pitch due to a “conditioning problem”.
Perhaps Jamsil stadium is the place to be this summer as the LG Twins are also playing well so far. Hard throwing right hander Radhames Liz is off to a slow start. In 4 starts, Liz is 1-2 with an ERA of 4.38. Liz is having trouble finding the strike zone walking 11 in 24.2 innings. Liz’s teammate Ben Jukich is off to a bit better of a start. In his 3 starts, Jukich is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA.
In Daegu, the Samsung Lions are one of only 2 teams with a foreign player who is a position player. Ryan Garko, the Lions DH, is off to a good start having had some timely hits so far this year. Through the first 15 games this year he is hitting .273. Garko has yet to homer this year but has driven in 10 runs. His teammate and pitcher from Japan Ken Kadokura is pitching better of late. Through 3 starts, Kadokura is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA.
In Gwangju, the KIA Tigers look to get back to their old winning ways and their two foreign pitchers are really leading the way. Australian Travis Blackley has started 3 times and has a 1-0 record with a 1.80 ERA. Through 20 innings, Blackley has given up only 13 hits and struck out 20. Aquilino Lopez is back to his old form through 3 games. Lopez is 3-0 in 3 starts with a 1.57 ERA. Through 23 innings, Lopez has given up only 16 hits and 3 walks.
The NEXEN Heroes are the only other team to have a foreign position player. Corey Aldridge is off to a horrible start at the plate. He has produced some power with 3 home runs, but is hitting only .155 so far. With his 9 hits in 15 games, 3 have been home runs and 3 have been doubles. However he has struck out 18 times in those 15 games. NEXEN teammate Brandon Knight is off to a good start. In 4 starts, Knight is 1-3 but has pitched better than his record having lost a few early low runs games where he pitched great. His ERA has climbed of late to 2.84 but look for more good outings from Knight.
The Lotte Giants are really struggling this season. One of their foreign pitchers has been on the shelf all season so far. Ryan Sadowski pulled an oblique muscle and is still out but should be back soon. The one bright spot for Lotte this year might be Bryan Corey. Through 4 starts, Corey is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA. In 25.2 innings, Corey has given up 22 hits, only walked 2, and struck out 20.
In Daejeon, the Hanwha Eagles are back at the bottom of the standings and they might have the next player recieve the “plane ticket of shame” (completely stolen line from Matt at TSoKB). Oneli Perez has thrown in 6 games out of the bullpen but has posted 1-1 record with 2 saves and a 6.48 ERA. Sadly this is the lowest ERA of the two foreign pitchers. Julio DePaula has started 3 times and is 0-2. DePaula does not seem to be fooling anyone with his 7.16 ERA. Both pitchers are struggling with finding the strike zone as Perez has walked 5 in 9 innings and DePaula has walked 10 in 16.2 innings.
KBO Standings :
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.