$900,000 ($200,000 down payment, $500,000 annual salary, $200,000 incentive) on the 19th.

As a result, NC signed Daniel Castano (29) for a total of $850,000 ($130,000 down payment, $520,000 annual salary, $200,000 incentive) on the 13th, and recruited Hart, filling all foreign one-two-punch combinations with left-handers.

Both Castano and Hearts, which were brought by NC Dinosaurs, will inevitably be compared to their predecessors. Eric Peddy, the manager of NCs mound this year, has displayed overwhelming performances. With 20 wins and 209 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.00, he won the Triple Crown (numbering most with three strikeouts) and became the MVP of the regular season. He also had the best year in the KBO League by winning Golden Glove, which is given to the best player in each position. Major League teams were busy watching Peddys dominance in the KBO League. The Chicago White Sox took Peddy there for two years and 15 million U.S. dollars. Peddy has made a golden return to the Major League. Since NC expected Peddy`s departure to some extent, it diligently focused on finding a substitute, and found all of them left-handed pitchers.

Castano, who NC Dinosaurs signed a contract with, boasts physical conditions of 190 centimeters and 104 kilograms. He played in the Major League for four seasons from 2020 to this year. He has posted two wins, seven losses and an ERA of 4.47 (88 ⅔ innings) in 24 games (17 starts) for the Miami Marlins. He has played a role in 10 games (seven starts) in the 2022 season with one win, three losses and an ERA of 4.04 (six earned in 35 ⅔ innings). The Triple-A record in the minor league was 15 wins, four losses and an ERA of 4.24 (82 earned runs in 174 innings). In this year’s Triple-A record, he had five wins, two losses and an ERA of 4.67 (six ⅔ and 33 earned runs) in 17 games (nine starts).

He throws breaking balls such as four-seam, cutter, slider, sinker, and change-up. As of the 2022 season when he threw the most games in the Major League, he pitched the most cutters (41%) followed by sliders (28.1 percent), change-up (12.7 percent), four-seam (12.3 percent), and sinkers (5.9 percent). Four-seam’s average speed in the 2022 season was 92 miles (148 kilometers), and the cutter that threw the most was 86.5 miles (139 kilometers). “I observed him for a long time, and he is a left-hander who has excellent ability to manage games stably based on his strong fastball,” NC Dinosaurs general manager Lim Seon-nam said of Castano. “I expect that he will increase depth of team starters.”

Castano, however, is somewhat concerned about his injury history. He has been battling injuries every year. He was put on the 60-day injured list due to his left shoulder collision syndrome in 2021. On July 29, 2022, he started the game against the Cincinnati Reds after being hit in the head by Donovan Solano’s 104.3-mile (168-kilometer) strong line drive, and was placed on the injured list showing signs of concussion. Later, while preparing for his return, he was out for the season after suffering another minor rupture in his left shoulder joint. In 2023, he was injured for about two months due to an unknown injury.

He hopes to display his power at the starting lineup by moving fastballs, cutters, and sliders. However, given his injury history, he cannot erase the feeling of “high-risk, high-return.”

In contrast, Hart is a relatively stable pitcher. There is no special strength in him. However, he is a pitcher who can manage the mound without injury. Hart is 196 centimeters tall and weighs 90 kilograms. He only had experience in 2020 in the Major League. He had an ERA of 15.55 (19 earned runs in 11 innings) in four games (three starts). He has strong bones in Triple-A. He had 24 wins and 24 losses in 69 games (57 starts) in four Triple-A seasons, and an ERA of 4.36 (334 ⅔ innings and 162 earned runs). In this year’s Triple-A league

The team introduced that he throws fastballs up to 149 kilometers, cutters, two-seam, and changeups. The average speed of his fours in the Major League in 2020 was 88.7 miles (143 kilometers). “Heart has a lot of experience on the mound, and he is good at psychological games with batters, and he pitches efficiently,” Lim said. “I hope that he and Castano will be a strong support as a starting duo with left-handers.” While Castano can overwhelm opponents with his pitches, Hearts hope that he will be a complementary one-two punch as he fills in anxiety over injury with steadiness and solidity.

In fact, in NC this year, Pedi led the starting lineup alone in front of the team and pushed it from the back. Taylor Widener, who had to be paired up, did not return until June due to a back injury and fell short of expectations even afterwards. Koo Chang-mo, who was supposed to play the role of left-hander ace, eventually failed to play the full season due to a recurrence of ulnar fatigue fracture. Choi Sung-young, Lee Jae-hak, Lee Yong-joon and Song Myung-ki had many periods of overlapping injuries and sluggishness at the same time. Shin Min-hyuk found his pace from the second half of the season and became Cinderella of the postseason, but the starting lineup without Pedi is the biggest variable for NC in the 2024 season.

Players who played the role of this year’s bullpen pitcher must-win, including Kim Young-kyu and Kim Si-hoon, are preparing to switch to starting pitcher next year. NC`s starting lineup, which is full of variables, has a heavy left-handed one-two punch. NC also needs to overcome its left-handed foreign atrocities.

NC was a team that selected foreign pitchers well. Including Pedi who returned to the Major League, Drew Lucinski who took charge of the mound at NC Dinos for four seasons before Pedi, Eric Hacker, NC’s founding contributor and longest-serving foreign pitcher, and Charlie Shirek, who had a no-hitter and the No. 1 ERA for two and a half seasons, were all foreign pitchers who made a name for themselves in the NC Dinosaurs. All of them were right-handed.

NC did not have good relationship with left-handed foreign pitchers. Adam Wilk, who NC Dinos ambitiously recruited along with Hacker and Charlie in 2013, was the beginning. The team fell short of expectations, leaving only four wins, eight losses and an earned run average of 4.12 in 17 games in 2013. With his shoulder injury and failing to adapt to the Korean stage, he only left a dark history behind.

Since then, the NC Dinosaurs had no left-handed foreign pitchers for a while, but in 2018, the NC Dinosaurs recruited Wang Weijung, the first foreign pitcher from Taiwan. Wang received tremendous attention from Taiwanese media and seemed to overwhelm the KBO league with his skills. However, he had a strong impact in the early stages, but he spent a long time away due to his shoulder injury, and his strength waned in the latter half. He garnered seven wins, 10 losses and an ERA of 4.26 in 25 games. The NC Dinosaurs suffered the humiliation of being the last-place finisher for the first time without the help of Wang, who had to become the ace this year.

In 2019, left-hander Christian Friedrick joined Eddie Butler as a substitute and displayed good performance with seven wins, four losses and an earned run average of 2.75 in 12 games. He also served as the starting pitcher in Game 1 of the wild card game for the NC Dinosaurs, who returned to the autumn baseball league in fifth place, but failed to make an impact. He judged that he could not play the full season due to his monotonous pitching pattern, and replaced him.

In 2022, Matt Dermody replaced Wes Parsons. However, Dermody failed to impress due to his slow pace and left-hander Tanner Turley failed to make a significant impression with eight games of three wins, five losses and a 4.54 ERA. This year, left-hander Tanner Turley replaced Wiedner again. Tanner joined the club in the second half of the year like Friedrich, and displayed a consistent performance with 11 games of five wins, two losses and a 2.92 ERA. Eight out of 11 games showed off his innings of quality starts. However, he was not overwhelmed due to his slow pace. Pitching, which relies on breaking balls, failed to renew his contract by showing its limits.

Left-handed pitchers that the NC Dinosaurs had recruited so far failed to show good performance due to injury and sluggishness. Even if he joined as a substitute and played for half a season, he did not instill confidence in the team’s full-time season. The combination of NC and left-handed foreign pitchers was not very good.

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