The Kia Tigers have pulled out all the stops to get out of their slump, removing a foreign starter, a closer and a key hitter from the roster.
On Monday, a non-baseball day, KIA removed five players from the roster: foreign pitcher Sean Anderson, closer Jung Hae-young, key infielder Hwang Dae-in, reliever Kim Dae-yoo, and backup infielder Yoon Do-hyun.메이저놀이터
Anderson, Jung, and Hwang are key resources for the team, and Dae-yoo is a reliever who has been on the roster since the season opener.
The KIA Tigers have taken the unusual step of removing foreign starter Sean Anderson from the roster. Photo by Kim Young-koo
Sitting in sixth place, KIA was struggling both as a team and individually. Eventually, Kia Tigers manager Kim Jong-kook made a decision.
First, Anderson went 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA in April, raising hopes that he would become the team’s ace. However, his velocity suddenly faltered in May, and he struggled with a 7.11 ERA in three losses.
After giving up four runs (three earned) on two hits and four walks in 3.1 innings against SSG on the 10th, he seemed to rebound with a 5.2 inning performance against Samsung on the 16th, giving up two runs on seven hits and four walks with seven strikeouts.
However, Anderson then pitched his worst game of the season against Hanwha on the 23rd with 4.1 innings, 10 hits, 5 walks, and 9 runs (6 earned), followed by a shaky outing against LG Electronics on the 28th with 3 innings, 4 hits, 3 walks, and 6 runs (3 earned). He is unable to overpower hitters and is walking a lot of batters, so it is likely that he is going through an adjustment period with the Futures.
KIA Tigers closer Jung Hae-young was also left off the first team roster. Photo by Kim Young-koo
Closer Jung Hae-young was also removed from the roster. On the surface, Jung’s stats don’t look bad, with a 3-1 record, six saves, and a 3.44 ERA this season. However, with a .297 batting average and an average fastball of 141.2 kilometers, down from last year’s 144.6 kilometers, he hasn’t been able to dominate hitters at all.
For Jung, who, if healthy, could easily reach 30 saves or more for the third straight year and become the KBO’s youngest 100-save pitcher, the question is how he can overcome the biggest hurdle of the early season.
Hwang Dae-in, who was touted as KIA’s next big right-handed hitter last year with 91 RBIs, 10th in the KBO, was also removed from the roster.
Hwang is batting just .212 with three home runs and 18 RBIs this season, and his on-base percentage (.269) and slugging percentage (.314) are both abysmal. His OPS is just .583.
In addition, Hwang hasn’t been able to capitalize on his strengths at the plate, as he has struck out 36 times in 130 at-bats in 36 games. Hwang Dae-in has a lot of work ahead of him, including regaining his batting balance and rebounding from his offense.
Photo by Chun Jeong-hwan
Elsewhere, KIA removed Kim Dae-yu from the roster for the first time this season after struggling with a 6.92 ERA in 18 games and two starts.
KT also removed struggling foreign pitcher Bo Schuler from its roster, while LG removed pitcher Kim Dae-hyun, Samsung removed outfielder Kim Sung-yoon, Hanwha removed outfielder Kwon Kang-min, and NC removed pitcher Lee Jun-ho.
Bo Schuler is not expected to have many opportunities left with KT. He is 1-7 with a 5.62 ERA in nine games this season and is mired in the league’s worst losing streak. He hasn’t pitched many strong games and hasn’t been competitive, so he could be replaced depending on the situation.