Active big leaguer recruit one-two punch and succeed in 10 wins and foreign pitchers in four years at KIA

KIA announced on the 19th that it has signed a contract with foreign pitcher James Nail for a total of $950,000 including $200,000 in down payment, $350,000 in annual salary, $150,000 in options and $250,000 in transfer fees.

Nail, a U.S.-born right-handed pitcher born in 1993, has a physique of 193 centimeters tall and weighs 83 kilograms, and played in the Major League for two seasons and six seasons in the Minor League (hereinafter referred to as Triple-A). In the Major League, he pitched in 17 games and recorded a one-hold ERA of 7.40 without a win or loss, while in the Minor League, he pitched in 155 games (35 starts) with 27 wins, 17 losses, 3 saves, and 20 holds.

Nail, who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 20th round in the 2015 MLB Draft, moved to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 2021 season. He made his MLB debut in 2022. Nail pitched in seven games as a bullpen pitcher, pitched nine innings and posted a 5.00 ERA without a loss. In 2023, he pitched in 10 games (15 ⅓) with an 8.80 ERA without a loss.

In Triple-A last year, he pitched in 31 games (3 starts), recording 5 wins, 3 losses, 3 saves, and 5 holds with a 3.66 ERA.

“James Nail is a player of strong ball control and rarely allowed walks throughout his career. He averaged 149 km per hour and 153 km per hour in the minor leagues last season. Notably, he boasts powerful curve ball power and good sinker movement, which increases his ability to induce grounders,” the Kia Tigers said.

In the Major League, Nail had 11 walks in 24 ⅓. In the Minor League, where he mostly played, he had 211 walks in 742 ⅓ and 2.6 walks per nine innings.

“James Nail is a player on the 40-member Major League roster. He played many games as a starting pitcher in college and in the Minor League, and he has various pitching arsenals, so he decided to recruit him this time. I hope that he will join forces with Korean starters to adapt well to the KBO league and play a role in the starting lineup,” said Kia Tigers general manager Shim Jae-hak.

Earlier, Kia recruited a foreign pitcher, Will Crowe, on the 7th. KIA signed a contract with Will Crowe for a total of $1 million, including a down payment of $200,000, an annual salary of $600,000, and an option of $200,000.

Crowe, a U.S.-born right-handed pitcher, is 185 centimeters tall and weighs 108 kilograms. He played for four seasons in the Major League and five seasons in the Minor League (hereinafter referred to as Triple-A).

Crowe was a second – round pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2017 MLB Draft. He made his major league debut with Washington in 2020, and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2021 to 2023.

In the Major League, he played in 94 games (29 starts) with 10 wins, 21 losses, 16 holds, 5 saves, and 5.30 ERA, while in the minor leagues, he pitched in 75 games (59 starts) with 21 wins, 16 losses, and 1 hold, 4.01.

He started 25 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021, playing a key role in starting rotation. He had four wins, eight losses and an earned run average of 5.48. In 2022, he changed his position to a bullpen pitcher, and pitched in 60 games (76 innings), with 6 wins, 10 losses, four saves, and an earned run average of 4.38.

In 2023, he pitched in only five games due to injury issues, and posted one loss, one save, and an ERA of 4.66. He pitched in 17 games (three starts) for Triple-A, recording three wins, one loss, and one hold with an ERA of 3.86.

Head Shim Jae-hak said, “Will Crow is a right-handed pitcher whose excellent ball power is his advantage, and his various breaking balls such as fastballs, sliders, and changeups with a maximum speed of 153 kilometers are powerful players. In addition, as he has been a full-time starter in the Major League, he is expected to play a key role in the team’s selection team as he has a lot of experience.”

Crowe, a pitching archer, is expected to be the first starting pitcher, and Nail, who boasts good ball control, will likely be the second starting pitcher. Kia has had successive failed attempts by foreign pitchers in recent years. Four foreign pitchers played in the 2023 season of KIA, and the number of wins was 16 overall. Madina (two wins), Anderson (four wins), Sanchez (four wins), and Panoni (six wins).

No foreign pitchers succeeded in the 2022 season. Nolin (8 wins), Williams (3 wins), and Panoni (3 wins) won a total of 13 games. In the 2021 season, three players – Mengden (8 wins), Brooks (3 wins) and Takahashi (1 win) – had 12 wins.

No foreign pitcher has won 10 games for the third year in a row. Brooks (11 wins) and Gagnon (11 wins) were the Kia Tigers’ last 10 wins in 2020.

Kia ranks third to fifth starting pitchers Yang Hyun-jong, Lee Eui-ri, a former rookie of the year, and Yoon Young-chul, who displayed good performance as rookies last year. If foreign pitchers are given the first or second starting pitchers for sure, it is worth seeking not only autumn baseball but also high-ranking competition. LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop, who won the title, said, “We are most wary of teams this season, and picked two KIA teams along with KT, which we faced off in the Korean Series last year.

Last year, Kia recruited Anderson and Medina as foreign pitchers to start the season. However, they were both kicked out in July due to sluggish performance. Since then, it has hired Panoni and Sanchez as replacements.

Kia added Fannoy to its pending roster, while Sanchez did not. Fannoy did not wait for Kia to renew its contract, but signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs. Fannoy will participate in the Cubs spring camp as an invited player and will receive 800,000 U.S. dollars if he is included in the Major League roster.

Kia recruited right-handed fireballers who played in the Major League last year as new foreign pitchers. They throw fastballs up to 153 kilometers per hour. Nail was included in the 40-man roster and even paid 200,000 U.S. dollars for his transfer.

Meanwhile, Kia has been accompanied by Socrates as a foreign hitter for three years. Kia renewed its contract with Socrates for a total of 1.2 million dollars (down payment of 300,000 dollars, annual salary of 500,000 dollars, option of 400,000 dollars).

Socrates played in 127 games in 2022, recording a batting average of 311 with 17 homers, 77 RBIs, 12 stolen bases with 83 points and an OPS of .848. In 2023, he played in 142 games with a batting average of 285, 20 homers, 96 RBIs, 91 runs, and 15 stolen bases with an OPS of .807. He ranked No. 1 in hits, homers, runs scored and RBIs in his team. 먹튀검증

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