Although kt is depressed about the players’ line injuries at the beginning of the season, the performance of foreigners is still a bit of a comfort. Lefty Wes Benjamin (30) and outfielder Anthony Alford (29) are showing signs of bombing the league from the start.
Benjamin started the season opener against LG on the 1st and made a perfect start to the season by fighting hard with 2 hits, 4 strikeouts and 1 run in 6 innings. LG’s batting line, which is said to be the best batting line in the league, was completely defeated by a better pitch than last year. Some commentators even say that he is “by far the best foreign pitcher with the current pitch.” KT coach Lee Kang-cheol also laughed as if he didn’t hate it, saying, “Last year, 151 km, which I hadn’t seen before, came out from the first game.” It is explained that he showed off his good condition from the camp.메이저놀이터
Alford had a batting average of 0.600, 2 homers, 6 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 2.100 in the opening two games with LG. Although it was not recorded as an official record as it was declared a no game, he showed off his strength by connecting a full ball to Adonis Medina’s body with a triple in the middle right in the match against Suwon KIA on the 4th. In the demonstration game, he showed a weakness for the inside ball, but it was a great hitting technique and power that showed that he was overcoming it.
However, the two players have one thing in common: ‘replacement foreign players’. Benjamin was William Cuevas’ replacement foreigner, and Alford was Henry Ramos’ replacement foreigner. When both Cuevas and Ramos struggled with injuries, kt boldly decided to replace them.
In fact, the replacement foreign player market is narrower than the offseason. Naturally, players who fall that much are bound to come. However, kt rather hit the jackpot in the replacement foreign player market. Was there any special trick?
The first is thorough observation. On the 5th, kt general manager Na-Hyun Na recalled the recruitment process of the two players and said, “These are players who have been constantly observing. While preparing for foreign players in 2022, Benjamin was the first player when not renewing contracts with Cuevas and Despine. And on the batter’s side, I was thinking about Ramos and Alford. Ramos’ pioneering plan was a little better, but I thought Alford would be great,” he recalled at the time. It means that kt was a player who constantly observed his skills and had a certain degree of confidence.
Benjamin and Alford were ultimately excluded from the list because they were not released by the club. But after that, things changed for both kt and the teams they belonged to. Even after recovering from the injuries of Cuevas and Ramos, kt thought it would be difficult to show 100% of their skills. So I waited while checking Benjamin and Alford’s identity, and finally received a reply from major league clubs saying they would buy out. So, the recruitment decision was made in an instant. I was not worried because I had already seen many players.
The second and most important secret was determination and teamwork. In fact, replacing foreign players costs a lot of money, and the risks are also high. He could have waited for Quevas, who was proven, and Ramos, whose evaluation was good. However, kt boldly pulled out a replacement card. Teamwork worked well. The site made a request, and the front desk didn’t say anything. He pushed the scene without hesitation. Director Na said, “We actively collected opinions from the field, and the president (Shin Hyun-ok, president of kt Sports) gave full support at the group level,” explaining the background of the timing and thanking him.
Director Na said, “The president said to apply if there was a need for the coach. He made the final decision. The success of the two substitute foreign players was probably a collaboration between the coach and the president. thing,” he said. If you tried to save money or if the decision-making time was extended, you might not be able to recruit. However, as the gears fit together, they were able to recruit the player they wanted.
kt even closely grasped the tendencies of the two players. Director Na said, “The two players themselves are very good. They are ‘good listeners’. They adapt well, and they have respect for Korean baseball and their colleagues. I kept receiving reports like that in the field.” I gave it away, but both players have been doing it. Benjamin’s rotation rate was lower than in his prime last year. He told me to build a good body, but it was true. Alford talked about hitting approach and defense, but he also prepared well,” he raised his thumbs up. Since the two players are still young, it seems that their heyday and their company with kt may continue for a little longer.