Lotte did not repeat the mistakes of a year ago. The will to rebound in the second half is strong.
The Lotte Giants released Dan Straily and signed a new foreign pitcher, Aaron Wilkerson. Wilkerson is a 1.89-meter tall, “arm-tinted” outfielder with a good fastball and changeup.
Last year, Lotte also played the foreign replacement card for a turnaround before and after the All-Star break. They brought in Zack Rex and Strillie. Both players performed well as substitutes and led the team in the second half.
The difference was the timing. Rex joined Lotte during the All-Star break. Straylor, on the other hand, didn’t return until August. He hadn’t gotten over his disappointment with Glenn Sparkman, who was playing at the time. He was given two more chances in the second half of the season, both of which ended in disaster after three innings.
Straily’s aging was also evident this year, as his fastball’s plane and velocity dropped dramatically. Lotte didn’t repeat the mistakes of a year ago. They brought in Niko Goodrum in place of Rex at the end of the first half, and they also made a change in pitching during the offseason.
The team started the season with the full backing of its parent company, Lotte Holdings. After a brilliant April and May, the team experienced a sharp fall. The team ended the first half of the season in fifth place as their 5 percent win rate, which had been considered the minimum, collapsed. This is the first step in the team’s quest to regain their footing in the second half of the season, which starts this weekend against the Kiwoom Heroes.
The rest is up to their newest addition, Wilkerson. Wilkerson played alongside Raul Alcantara (Doosan Bears) in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Hanshin Tigers in 2022. This year, he played for the Las Vegas Aviators, a Triple-A team affiliated with the Oakland Athletics. He wore the Lotte uniform for a total of $350,000 per year. He is expected to arrive on the 19th and make his first appearance as early as next week against the Doosan Bears.토토사이트
His strengths are his changeup and fastball, rather than his powerful pitches. He also stands out for having a “hungry spirit” that has helped him overcome difficult life circumstances.
He is a former Major League Baseball undraftee. He had surgery on his right elbow in college. He worked in a supermarket freezer to make ends meet and eventually made it to the major leagues through his performance in the independent leagues. The story of his “freezer” days later became public knowledge, and Wilkerson”s nickname stuck.
His big league career lasted just three seasons, 14 games, 35⅓ innings, three wins, and a 6.88 ERA. 2019 would be his last. He got caught up in the aftermath of the coronavirus and never returned to the big leagues. In the minors, he pitched mostly in the PCL, a league known for its two-hitters, and went 58-31 with a 3.42 ERA.
While the move was inevitable, his recent poor performance, coupled with his age of 34, has fans concerned. His long extension, excellent crisis management skills, and good deception (hiding movements) made him a force in his brief stint in Japan. Lotte is the team with the fewest errors (42) in the first half. This could be a good match for Wilkerson, who has a matchmaking style.
Lotte has retooled for a second-half comeback. Can they wash away their June-July slump and succeed in fall baseball for the first time in six years since 2017? They’ll need Wilkerson to be another “hairy ace.