Lotte, Kiwoom desperate to rebound…New outsider to be second-half hidden card?
Lotte Giants and Kiwoom Heroes, who are locked in a tight mid-table battle, have exhausted their two foreign player replacement cards. The new faces are the late-season hidden cards for Lotte and Kiwoom.
Lotte made the decision on April 18, during the All-Star break. They parted ways with Dan Straily after four years and brought in right-hander Aaron Wilkerson.
Wilkerson, who made his major league debut in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform in 2017, has appeared in 14 games over three seasons. Although he doesn’t have a lot of big league experience, he has a solid 58-31 record with a 3.42 ERA in 158 career minor league games.
Wilkerson also has the advantage of having played Asian baseball. “His adaptability to Asian baseball through his experience in Nippon Professional Baseball was highly valued,” Lotte said. Last year, Wilkerson played for the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball, going 5-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 games.
Lotte cited Wilkerson’s fastball movement and changeup as strengths, and is looking forward to his second half performance. Wilkerson, who arrived in Korea on the 19th, has been practicing with his teammates. Lotte’s postseason hopes depend on Wilkerson’s performance.
Kiwoom made a surprise move by releasing Edison Russell on the 13th before the final game of the first half. Russell was set to return after recovering from a wrist injury, but Kiwoom opted to make a change.
Russell’s replacement is Ronnie Dawson. Dawson, who was drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round (61st overall) of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft, was called up to the majors in 2021. However, he only appeared in four games and was never called up to the big leagues again.
Dawson spent most of his time in the minors. In six seasons, he batted .247 with 72 home runs, 305 RBIs, and 105 stolen bases in 641 games. This year, in 63 games in the independent leagues, he hit .282 with 13 homers, 39 RBIs, and 13 doubles.
Kiermaier saw a lot of positives in Dawson, including his power, athleticism, on-base skills, and wide defensive range. If Dawson is on track, he can synergize with Lee Jung-hoo, Kim Hye-sung, Lee Won-seok, and Lee Hyung-jong in the offense.
It’s not a bad start. Dawson batted fourth in the lineup in left field against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium on April 22 and recorded an RBI and a run scored.
With runners on first and second in the top of the first inning, Dawson drove a four-pitch curveball from Lotte starter Park Se-woong into center field on a 1-ball-2-strike to drive in Kim Hye-sung.
She then moved to third on Lee Won-seok’s single to left and came home on Lee Ji-young’s push single with two outs for her first career run.
In addition, switch-hitter Nico Goodrum, who joined Lotte’s Jack Rex as a replacement foreign player, made his debut in the first game of the second half.
Goodrum started the game against Kiwoom at Sajik Stadium, batting second and playing third base, and singled in the top of the first inning. In his first at-bat, he lined a single up the middle against Kiwoom ace Ahn Woo-jin.
Ahn Chi-hong followed with a single to left, advancing to second, but Goodrum was unable to advance any further as he was stranded.온라인바카라
Goodrum signed with Lotte earlier this month at the end of the first half for an annualized salary of $400,000. Lotte was looking for a replacement after their original foreign-born outfielder, Jack Rex, suffered a knee injury.
With his utility skills and ability to get on base, Goodrum’s performance will be watched closely.