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‘8 will 4 wins 0.32’ Cuevas, re-recruitment is ‘a move from God’

Hanwha won 7 innings, 3 hits, 11 strikeouts, and no runs, kt 10 consecutive winning series.

KT Wiz, led by coach Lee Kang-cheol, won 3-0 in an away game against the Hanwha Eagles in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Daejeon Hanwha Life Insurance Eagles Park on the 20th, hitting 5 hits, including 1 home run.

Starting with 3 consecutive matches against Kiwoom Heroes on July 11th and 3 consecutive matches against Hanwha, kt, which recently achieved 10 consecutive winning series, reduced its ride to 7 games against the leading LG Twins, who lost 1-2 to SSG Landers that day. (58 wins, 2 draws, 46 losses).

In the 7th inning, where the score was 0-0, Moon Sang-cheol, who hit a solo home run in the beginning of the 7th inning, became the main character of the final hit, and Bae Jeong-dae put a wedge in the game with a timely double. On the mound, Park Young-hyun, who blocked the 8th inning, recorded the 25th hold, and Kim Jae-yoon, who kept the 9th, recorded the 22nd save. William Cuevas, the ‘returned big game pitcher’ who has won 7 wins in 11 games after returning to kt, is the main character.

Foreign pitchers failing to live up to expectations for 4 consecutive years

In the KBO League, new clubs that have joined the league are given the benefit of having 4 foreign players for the first 2 years. NC Dinos, who joined the first team in 2013, succeeded in advancing to fall baseball two years after entering the first team through Charlie Shrek, Eric Hacker, and Ted Webber, who jointly won 29 wins in 2014. However, the 10th club kt, which has been in the first team since 2015, has not been able to get out of the bottom for three consecutive years until 2017, even though it received the benefit of having four foreign players in 2015 and 2016.

KT’s first three foreign pitchers were right-handers Phil Irwin and Chris Oxspring, and left-hander Andy Cisco. However, only Oxspring, who recorded 12 wins and 10 losses and an ERA of 4.48, completed the season. In the middle of the season, kt recruited Justin Germano, one of the key players in Samsung Lions’ championship in 2011, as a substitute instead of Erwin in the middle of the season, but Germano also fell short of expectations with a record of 3 wins, 6 losses and 4.93.

KT replaced all foreign pitchers with Travis Van Watt, who played for SK Wyverns in 2016, and new faces Yohan Pino and Sugar Ray Marimon. However, Van Watt, who finished the season, fell far short of expectations with 6-13 and 5.95, while Marimon with 6-4 and 5.23 and Pino with 2-3 and 7.15 were dropped. While Marimon’s substitute Josh Rowe was also sluggish with 3 wins, 6 losses and 6.30, Ryan Pierband from Heroes succeeded in renewing the contract with an average ERA of 4.16 in 12 games after transferring to kt.

Celebrating the 3rd year of entering the first team in 2017, kt lost the benefit of having 4 foreign players in a new club, and a new face, Don Roach, and a peer band re-signed to pack a foreign one-two punch. Peer Band only recorded 8-10 due to kt’s weak power, but recorded a whopping 20 quality starts in 26 games and took first place in the league with an average ERA of 3.04. On the other hand, Roach, who managed to complete the season with 165 innings, was disgraced as the pitcher with the most losses in the league with 4 wins, 15 losses and 4.69.

In 2017, kt renewed the contract for 1.05 million dollars with Peer Band, who had the most ‘salty pitch’ in the league. After the 2017 season, kt recruited ‘legendary foreign pitcher’ Dustin Nippert, whose renewal contract with the Doosan Bears was canceled. However, Nippert, who entered his 8th year in Korea, could no longer show the pitch he had in his prime, recording 8 wins and 8 losses with a 4.25 score. Peer Band also failed to renew the contract with a disappointing record of 8 wins, 8 losses and 4.30 without being able to reproduce the power of 2017.메이저놀이터

28 innings, 1 run in 4 games in August

After the 2018 season, kt gave up on renewing the contract with Nippert and Peerband and turned their attention to Central and South America with Raul Alcantara (Doosan) from the Dominican Republic and Cuevas from Venezuela for the 2019 season. paid kt’s new one-two punch, which combines powerful pitches and stable control, played its part by winning 24 wins in 2019, and kt recorded a 50% win rate for the first time in 5 years. However, after the 2019 season, kt gave up on renewing the contract with Alcantara and chose to renew the contract with Cuevas.

In 2020, kt’s new one-two punch, consisting of Cuevas and Cuban Audrey Samer Despaine, won 25 wins in the regular league and led kt’s first advance into fall baseball. In his third season at kt in 2021, Cuevas suffered from a father injury during the season and stayed at 9 wins in the regular league. However, he recorded 7 scoreless innings in the first place match against Samsung and 7.2 scoreless innings in the first game of the Korean Series against Doosan, making a decisive contribution to kt’s first Korean Series victory.

However, Cuevas suffered an elbow injury after appearing in just two games last year and left the KBO League after saying goodbye to fans at a home game on May 18. After leaving Korea, Cuevas, who had been active in the Mexican League and the LA Dodgers’ minor leagues, wore the kt uniform again on June 9 as a substitute for Bo Schulser, who was sluggish with a 1-7 loss and 5.62 record. Of course, at the time of the recruitment, there were not a few skeptical views, saying, ‘Will re-recruiting Cuevas, who was sluggish in the minor leagues, help the team’s performance?’

However, as of now, two months after Cuevas stepped onto the mound in a kt uniform, no kt fan is saying that re-recruiting Cuevas was a wrong decision. Cuevas, who appeared in 11 games after returning this season, recorded 8 quality starts and contributed greatly to kt’s rise to second place alone with 7 wins and an undefeated 2.81 ERA. Cuevas won his 7th victory of the season against Hanwha on the 20th by completely blocking the Hanwha lineup with 3 hits and 11 strikeouts without a walk.

Cuevas, who recorded a mediocre record of 3 wins and 4.58 in 7 games until July, earned 4 wins in 4 games he started in August with brilliantly good pitching, allowing 1 run in 28 innings (0.32 ERA). It means that the concentration of Cuevas, who showed off better pitches as the competition for rankings intensified, continues to shine this year as well. And with Cuevas showing the aspect of a ‘big game pitcher’ this year as well, kt’s goal to win the second Korean Series is becoming clearer.

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