Great performance in the second half and small sample… The best one-two punch in the second half of the year, will Lotte decide to go together without hesitation?

A pitcher who performed half-performing in the second half after a sluggish first half, and another pitcher who performed well in the second half despite being a small sample. Will the Lotte Giants express their intention to renew contracts with their foreign one-two punches, Charlie Barnes (28) and Aaron Wilkerson (34), without hesitation?

Lotte failed to advance to the fall baseball season again this year. Lotte had to spend another lonely fall as it failed to advance to the fall baseball season for the sixth consecutive year. The reason Lotte was further away from the postseason stage was that it did not have stable power. Farming of foreign players, which should be the basis of power, was close to failure.

They started this season with the one-two punch of Dan Straley and Charlie Barnes, and hitter Jack Rex. The combination of Strayley, who joined as a substitute in the second half, and Barnes, who showed outstanding performance in the first half, was a pretty good combination, although it was not without some unsettling factors. 

However, unexpected factors of anxiety pushed Lotte into crisis. Strayley left an average ERA of 2.31 in 11 games in the second half of last year, but it was difficult to say that he was at the same level as he was at the time when he had already struck out 205 times in 2020, and this year’s decline in pitching status and difficulty with ball control were more noticeable. 

Barnes had a poor season last year, as he played a 4-day rest rotation in the first half of last year, and the aftereffects of his physical decline became noticeable in the second half. In the first half of this year, he had an uneven season as the change in his pitching form, which was implemented to prevent exposure of his pitching habits, failed to take root. The stable operation of the game that was expected from them could not be properly confirmed in the first half of the year. In the end, Strayley was kicked out and Aaron Wilkerson joined as a new foreign player. 

Barnes showed a different side from the first half of the game. There was a return to his previous pitching form, and this change was fully established. Also, by not having to go through a 4-day rest rotation at the beginning of the season like last year, I was able to reserve my strength until the end of the season. In the end, it was confirmed that if Barnes is healthy and has stamina, he is a top pitcher in the league. In the second half of the season, he recorded 6 wins, 4 losses, and an average ERA of 2.05 (20 earned runs in 87⅔ innings) and a WHIP of 1.27 per inning. He was the starting pitcher with the second highest earned run average and the most innings in the second half. His final performance for the season was 30 games, 11 wins, 10 losses, and an earned run average of 3.28. 

Wilkerson, Straley’s replacement, supported Lotte’s starting lineup in the second half with his aggressive game. He throws a fastball with an average speed of 144.1 km, but he made a soft landing in the KBO league with his ability to fight with control, and a pitch with more than velocity. In the 13 games in the second half, all but two games lasted more than six innings. Out of 13 games, he pitched quality starts in all but two games where he did not pitch 6 innings. And in all 13 games, he allowed less than 3 earned runs. He clearly demonstrated his strengths and achieved 7 wins (2 losses) in 13 games in the second half of the season. His ERA of 2.26 (20 earned runs in 79⅔ innings) in the second half ranks fourth.

Both Barnes and Wilkerson are eligible for contract renewals based on their performances in the second half of the season. However, strictly speaking, Barnes showed off his extreme skills in the first half of last year and the second half of this year. It was a great performance in half the season. He was unable to fully perform in a full-time season without ups and downs. Wilkerson also has only a small sample for the second half of the year. Although he has a stable style, we cannot guarantee the results when the samples are accumulated. Also, considering the fact that he is only one year older than Strayley, it remains to be seen whether he can maintain his ranking next year as he did in the second half of this year. If he attacks the strike zone with a poor pitch, he is bound to get hit in the end, and there is a risk that he could become ‘Straily Season 2’. 

As a result, this year, Lotte failed to advance to the fall baseball season despite the late performance of foreign players. By the time Barnes got back on track and Wilkerson joined, he had already fallen from the top five. He belatedly tried to fly by adding wings, but the movement was delayed.안전놀이터 

Over the past four years, Lotte has not been completely successful in recruiting foreign players. In particular, one out of two pitching staff members was below par. Adrian Sampson in 2020, Anderson Franco in 2021, and Glenn Sparkman in 2022 all failed to meet expectations or were dropped out.

Next year should be different. Appointing a new coach should be a priority, but foreign players should also be carefully selected. Both Barnes and Wilkerson left records worthy of renewed contracts. Perhaps even if Lotte wants to renew the contract, the hilt may lie with Barnes and Wilkerson. Will Lotte decide to join them in 2024 without hesitation?

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