KIA officially announced on Thursday that it has placed right-hander Adonis Medina (27) on waivers after acquiring him with high hopes this year. Considering the undisclosed transfer fee, it was a stinging betrayal of the promise of a player who virtually filled the $1 million salary cap for new foreign players.
Kia was forced to part ways with two foreign pitchers (Sean Nolin and Thomas Pannoni) who had pitched relatively well before this season. While they were reliable, they weren’t “game changers” that could dramatically improve the team’s performance. The pitching staff has been criticized for the past year for not being able to overpower opponents, and for not being able to digest innings. It was a risk, but it made sense.
So this year, we added Shawn Anderson and Medina, both right-handers and hard-throwing, and one of the cards fell short. Medina, who some thought “could be better than Anderson in the long run,” had a combination of a two-seam fastball that reached 150 mph and a slider with decent movement. He’s still young, so his upside was noteworthy. However, he was unable to capitalize on those strengths amid pitching and command issues.
Medina went 2-6 with a 6.05 ERA in 58 innings pitched in 12 games this season. His batting average was .283. His command was shaky and his ability to react to situations was lacking. His mental game was also not strong. In the end, he was sent down to the second team after an early exit on June 21 against Daejeon Hanwha (3 runs in 2 innings).
As for a new foreign pitcher, KIA has selected Mario Sanchez, who played in the Taiwanese Professional League this year, and is in final negotiations. KIA head coach Kim Jong-kook admitted that negotiations with Sanchez will be completed soon, ahead of the team’s game against Incheon SSG on April 4 (which was canceled due to rain). It is reported that they are currently working on finalizing the transfer fee. An official announcement is expected on the 6th at the latest. Sanchez has been one of the best pitchers in the Taiwanese League this year. He has a fastball that reaches 150 mph and a good curveball and changeup. Most importantly, he has a low strikeout rate.
However, it’s unclear if Sanchez will be a “No. 1” starter. He doesn’t have any major league experience, and his fastball isn’t overpowering in the KBO. He has a clean delivery, and we’ll have to wait and see what his other pitches are like besides his curveball. In fact, it’s hard to find an ace in the foreign player market right now. KIA’s expectations are for a “much better than Medina” righty.
That leaves Shawn Anderson as the man to watch. Sitting in ninth place, KIA needs a foreign pitcher to help them climb the standings, and Anderson will need to prove himself as a foreign ace to make that happen. On the flip side, if he can’t do that, he could be on the bench. Right now, he’s somewhere in between.
In fact, until April, it looked like he could be that guy. He pitched well in April, going 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA in six starts and 38⅓ innings. His innings pitched, pitches thrown, and ERA were all passable, but then he struggled. His pitching balance was off, and his four-seam fastball-slider monotony was criticized. He was recruited because of his ability to throw other pitches, but he relied too much on his slider.토토사이트
It’s a tough decision to make. Two reasons. Anderson’s pitches aren’t as bad as Medina’s. I have fond memories of his April showing. Last but not least, there is no guarantee that you can get a better pitcher than Anderson. Foreign scouts in the KBO lament that “the seedbed has dried up” in the United States. The amount of money you can spend on a replacement also diminishes over time. At $400,000, you can’t afford a foreign player of Anderson’s caliber. Or you have to take a chance.
Anderson had a 2.95 ERA in three games in June after the pitching balance adjustment. In his first game in July, he pitched six innings and three runs (two earned) against LG Electronics in Jamsil on July 2. Kia manager Kim Jong-kook also commented on Anderson’s pitching performance against SSG in Incheon on July 4 (prior to the rainout), saying, “Honestly, he could have pitched a little better, but in some ways we didn’t help him. There was also something like that on the catcher’s side. I’d say he pitched pretty well.” There’s not as much coldness in the assessment or nuance as there was with Medina.
But it’s clear that there’s still some concern. His pitches don’t have the same inning-digesting quality as they did in April, and they don’t have the same coolness that overwhelmed the opposition. Anderson’s pitch count has increased and his batting average has risen as opposing hitters have been relentless in their pursuit of his pitches. Kia president Shim Jae-hak traveled to the U.S. with several tasks in mind, including creating a list of foreign players. It will be interesting to see if there is a better pitcher than Anderson, and if so, if KIA will make a bold move.