Archive for the 'Korea' Category

Diamondbacks Take Risk with Kelly

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Merrill Kelly has not played any major league baseball. Yet the Arizona Diamondbacks signed the righthander to a two year S5.5 million contract. There are also two club options that would extend the contract to $9.5 million or a $500,000 buyout if they do not want to exercise those options.

The Diamondbacks are hoping the three years Kelly pitched in the KBO transfers well to the major leagues. Miles Mikolas had success with the Cardinals last year after pitching in Japan. The Brewers got some contributions from Eric Thames after he destroyed KBO pitching for a couple years. The Diamondbacks are hoping for some success from Kelly, who last pitched outside of Korea in the minor leagues for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kelly pitched for the SK Wywerns the last three years. In three seasons he started 90 games and finished with a 3.80 ERA. When you consider what a hitters league the KBO is those are pretty good numbers. This past season the Wyverns won the KBO championship with Kelly going 16-7 with a 3.60 ERA. He had his best season that year, striking out 189 hitters in 190 innings, though he has given up more than a hit per inning pitched in all three years.

His stuff is not overpowering, but he could have some success at the back end of the rotation. The Diamondbacks are a little short in the rotation after losing Patrick Corbin to free agency, Taijuan Walker to Tommy John and Shelby Miller to ineffectiveness. They are also trying to trade the contract of Zack Greinke. If Kelly can provide them 30 average starts he has done his job.

Top 14 Countries for Women’s Baseball

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

There are not as many countries that participant in woman’s baseball. Japan is the most dominant, currently carrying a 30 game world cup winning streak. Canada, the number two rated team came the closest to beating Japan in the World Cup, losing 2-1 in a Super Round game. Taiwan jumped three spots after finishing second in last year’s World Cup. Most of the top United States players are encouraged to play softball because of a lack of baseball programs for women. They dropped a notch after failing to medal the last two years. Below are the top 14 countries for woman’s baseball:

1. Japan - 2000 points
2. Canada - 1300
3. Taiwan - 1297
4. United States - 1094
5. Venezuela - 989
6. Australia - 904
7. Cuba - 537
8. Korea - 500
9. Dominican Republic - 433
10. Hong Kong - 363
11. Netherlands - 311
12. Puerto Rico - 267
13. India - 104
14. Pakistan - 67

Tommy Joseph Gets Opportunity in Korea

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

The LG Twins are doing a good job signing foreign players. They resigned Tyler Wilson, who did a good job for them last year. They also signed former first round pick Casey Kelly, who had a good season last year in a late appearance with the San Francisco Giants (3.04 ERA in seven appearances, three starts). After not resigning Adonis Garcia the Twins went out to snag Tommy Joseph as their position player.

Joseph has the potential to slug 40 plus homeruns in the KBO. What is critical is how he adapts to Korean life. Like the Dominicans who come to the United States, it can be a challenge to arrive in a country where your language is not the primary language. Last year Joseph slugged 21 homeruns in the minor leagues but failed to get any major league time. His two previous seasons he had hit 22 (2017) and 21 (2016) homeruns for the major league Phillies. The development of Rhys Hoskins and the acquisition of Carlos Santana left him without a position last year.

For $1 million Joseph will try to resurrect his career in Korea, or work on a new career.

Wyverns Win KBO championship

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

It took 13 innings but the Wyverns pulled it out to win the championship over the Doosan Bears 5-4. Choi Jeong hit a solo shot in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings and Han-Dong Min went deep in the 13th inning to seal the victory.

Kang Seung-Ho was the big bat early for the Wyverns. His two run homerun in the fourth staked the Wyverns to a 3-0 lead. Jamie Romak drove in the first run in the opening frame on a ground out.

The Bears battled back. In the sixth Choi Joo-Hwan doubled in a run and Yang Eui-Ji drove in two with a single. Up until that point Merrill Kelly was breezing along with a five inning shutout. A hit by pitch, wild pitch and walk put two runners on to put him in trouble. Yang hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to give the Bears a 4-3 lead.

The Bears called on Josh Lindblom to close out the game in the ninth. The Bears needed to win this game to take the series to a seventh game. Lindblom struck out the first two hitters. Choi Jeong was a different beast. The slugger took Lindblom deep with a drive over the left field wall.

For Wyvern manager Trey Hillman this is his second championship. He won his first in Japan with the Nippon Ham Fighters. He has already announced that this was his last season with the Wyverns. He will return to the United States where another major league team could give him an opportunity to manage.

Han Dong-Min was voted the Korean Series MVP. Han only went 4 for 21 in the series but he bookended his homeruns, hitting a two run shot in the first inning of game one. Han also ended game five of the semi-final with a walkoff homerun to get the Wyverns to the championship game.

Wyverns Pull to Within One of Korean Championship

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

The SK Wyverns are led by Trey Hillman, who has indicated this will be his last year of managing in Korea. He is one win away from managing the Wyverns to a Korean championship. Trey Hillman managed the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan and led them to their first ever Japan Series championship in 2006. In 1981 they had won their only Pacific Conference, but they failed to win the championship. Hllman also managed the Kansas City Royals in the major leagues but did not have any championship success there.

The Wyverns last won a Korean Series championship in 2010. They are one win away from winning their fourth championship after a 4-1 victory over the Doosan Bears.

Seth Frankoff, who won 18 games during the regular season was pitching a shutout through the first six innings for the Bears. The Bears had gone ahead 1-0 after a Jung Jin-Ho solo blast in the third inning had given them a 1-0 lead. Wyverns pitcher Park Jong-Hoon did not allow a run after that through five innings. It had all the appearances of ending as a rare 1-0 pitcher’s duel.

Sloppy fielding impeded the Bears from winning this game. A double by Kim Sung-Hyun drove in the Wyverns first run, and the only earned run they scored on the evening. An error by the leftfielder allowed Kim to advance to third where he scored on a fly ball to make it 2-1.

In the eighth a dropped pop up by the shortstop allowed two unearned runs to score. A single by Park Jung-Kwon scored the runner from second. The Wyverns then loaded the bases and a two out walk scored the second run of the inning to give the Wyverns a 4-1 lead.

Starter Angel Sanchez was called on to pitch a scoreless sixth. Kim Tae-Hoon pitched two scoreless innings and then Jung-Young-il closed out the game with a scoreless ninth. He did put two runners on in the ninth but a line out double play ended the Bears hope for a victory.

Lindblom Pitches Bears to Win

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

The only playoff series in town saw the Doosan Bears even their series against the SK Wyverns with a 2-1 win. Josh Lindblom went seven innings, allowing just three hits and one run. He struck out 10.

It appeared his outing would go for naught as Kim Kwang-Hyun threw six innings of shutout ball The Wyverns went to their bullpen and in the eight inning Jung Soo-Bin launched a two run homerun to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. Jung is not one of the more prolific homerun hitters in Korea, having hit just 19 in his 911 game 9 year career. But he came through last night.

Ham Duk-Go took over for Lindblom in the eighth and pitched two shutout innings to give him the victory. The series between the Bears and Wyverns is now tied at two games apiece.

Romak Leads Wyverns to Second Win

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

The truly international baseball star Jamie Romak has been a slugging stud since his arrival in Korea. His 43 homeruns during the regular season was tied for second in the KBO. Yesterday he slugged two homeruns, his third and fourth of the playoffs to lead the SK Wyverns to a 7-2 win over the Doosan Bears. They now lead the best of seven series two games to one.

Romak hit his first shot in the opening frame, a three run blast that ultimately gave the Wyverns all the runs they would need. He added a solo shot in the eighth to flatten any hopes of Bears fans that they would come back. Merrill Kelly made the runs hold up allowing just two unearned runs in his seven innings of work. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out five.

Lee Jae-Won hit a two run homerun for the Wyverns in the eighth to cap their scoring.

Jamie Romak is a Canadian who has played baseball in the major leagues, Japan and Korea, as well as winter ball in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. His success in the major leagues (.167 average) and Japan (.113) were lacking, but he seems to have found a home in Korea. Or perhaps his bat is finally finding the sweet spot a bit more. He is still a strikeout waiting to happen, as his 123 whiffs in the KBO will tell you, but his batting average improved (.242 to .316) and his whiffs dropped from last year.

He has won a gold medal for the Canadian team in the 2011 Pan American games and bronze medals playing for the Canadian team in the 2007 and 2011 Baseball World Cups. The 2011 Canadian baseball team was voted to the Canadian baseball Hall of Fame. During his minor league seasons he did consistently hit 20 or more homeruns per year. In 2017 when the Padres sold his contract to the Wyverns he had hit 11 homeruns in just 25 minor league games with a .800 slugging percentage. So the Wyverns must have seen that power coming more to life when they scouted him.

Bears Even Series with Identical Score

Monday, November 5th, 2018

The defending champion Doosan Bears evened their series with the SK Wyverns beating them 7-3, the same score as the previous day but with a different victor. The big bat was again Choi Joo-Hwan, who drove in all three runs in their loss the day before. He clubbed a two run homer to cap a three run fourth to give the Bears a 4-0 lead and then contributed an RBI single in a three run eighth to clinch the win.

18 game winner Seth Frankoff got the start and the win for the Bears. He gave up three runs, but only one earned, striking out 10 in 6.2 innings.

Kim Kang-Min drove in all three runs for the Wyverns, the first with a sacrifice fly in the fifth and the last two with a single in the seventh. .

Wyverns Take Opener

Monday, November 5th, 2018

The Wyverns shocked the Doosan Bears by taking the opener in the Korean Series. Perhaps it was too long a wait before the Bears played their first game. Jung-Kwon Park blasted a two run homer in the sixth to give the Wyverns a 4-3 lead. Park added a sacrifice fly in the ninth to close out the scoring, giving him three RBIs for the game.

Josh Lindblom got the start for the Bears. It has been more than a month since he has started in a game. He gave up a two run homer in the first to Dong-Min Han to give the Wyverns the early lead. His wild pitch in the seventh cost the Bears a fifth run.

Joo-Hwan Choi drove in all three runs for the Bears. He stroked an RBI single in the third and a two run single in the fifth.

Jong-Hoon Park did not last five innings, taken out with just one out in the fifth. He gave up two of the three runs. Angel Sanchez got the win in relief working 1.2 innings.

Kim and Han go Back to Back to Lead Wyverns to Korean Series

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

After winning the first two games of the five game series, the SK Wyverns battled back in game five, getting back to back homers from Kim Kang-Min and Han Dong-Min to beat the Nexon Heroes 11-10. The Heroes had rallied for five runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game 9-9, Park Byung-Ho finishing off the inning with a two run bop. They scored another run in the top of the tenth on back to back doubles to take a 11-10 lead but could not hold it.

The game started as a pitcher’s duel between the Heroes Jake Brigham and the Wyverns Kim Kwang-Hyun. Neither team scored through the first five innings. The Heroes erupted for three in the top of the sixth. They Wyverns doubled that run total in the bottom half, ending the pitcher’s duel. Jamie Romak hit a three run homer for the Wyverns in the sixth. Choi Hang hit a critical pinch hit three run double to close out the scoring.

Kim Taek-Hyung came on in the 10th and stranded a runner on third with one out to earn the win and a seven game series with the Doosan Bears next on the agenda.