In some ways, pro baseball NC is the team with the most difficult season prospects. While there is an expectation that the 2020 season champion team is worthy of aiming for the top ranks with its potential, it is also in a composition that is not strange even if it is classified as a mid-lower team. While power outflows and reinforcements have been repeated over the past two years, negative factors have become more prominent.
After standing at the top of the pennant race with a win rate of 0.601 in the 2020 season, NC even held the Korean Series championship, but became a completely different team in two years. All three foreign players, including ace Drew Luczynski, who won 19 wins (11 losses) that year, were replaced, and Yang Eui-ji, who kept the team’s central batting line and home, returned to Doosan.
When talking about the NC bullpen, veteran pitchers such as Won Jong-hyun, Lim Chang-min (Kiwoom Lee), and Kim Jin-seong (LG) disappeared one after another. In addition to this, the team has already spent a season without Na Seong-beom (KIA), the nucleus of the batting line, and new names such as Park Kun-woo, Son Ah-seop, and Park Se-hyuk have joined the team and changed the face. Coach Lee Dong-wook, who was the winning command tower, was also replaced midway in May of last year.
Indeed, ahead of the season of ‘Duckling’, the calculations in the field cannot help but be complicated. NC coach Kang In-kwon set a basic baseline as a new goal and is preparing for the season calmly.
In a phone interview on the 28th, coach Kang, who will leave for Arizona on the 29th and start spring camp, said, “First of all, my goal is to make a ‘plus 7 wins’ compared to last year. First of all, I am thinking about how to fill that ‘7 wins’, and it seems to be a homework to be solved in the future.”
NC finished the season in 6th place last year with 67 wins, 3 draws and 74 losses (0.475). 7 more wins as of last year means that at least 74 wins will go beyond the cut-off in the 5th round. Last year, 5th place team KIA played a wild card match with 70 wins (1 draw and 73 losses).
On the one hand, you can be optimistic. At the beginning of last year, NC struggled, such as reaching the bottom in May due to the overlap of injuries to some players while the joining of disciplinary players related to COVID-19 quarantine was delayed at the beginning of last year. The season ended with a clear recovery, such as ranking 4th in the same period with wins, 3 draws and 40 losses (0.556). If the flow of the mid-to-late half of last year is brought up to this year, it is worth expecting a game in the top five. 메이저놀이터
However, it is unclear how the starting team’s Nuclear Luchinski, who was number 1 in the entire league, and Yang Eui-ji, who was also the key man in the other line as the national team’s main catcher, both left this winter, will affect the entire team. In addition, there are external factors that have made it difficult to secure a multiplier as lower-ranking teams such as Hanwha and Lotte have clearly reinforced their strength.
Director Kang talked about several variables among the internal forces that can be controlled. Jason Martin’s adaptability, which is expected to play an active role as a new foreign hitter and center fielder, and the performance of newly joined catcher Park Se-hyuk, were not one or two. Director Kang cited the performance of the starting team as the biggest variable among them. “In the 4th and 5th starts last year, we had only 9 victories. We have to make a change here,” he said.
With the exception of Luchinski (10 wins) and Koo Chang-mo (11 wins), there was a big change in the 3rd to 5th starting positions, and the diagnosis was that the lower the starting position, the lower the competitiveness. The two foreign pitchers, who are new faces, are also unclear, but the 4th and 5th starting seasons, excluding them and Gu Chang-mo, seem to be just as important. In the 4th and 5th selection competition, Shin Min-hyeok is ahead, and Song Myeong-ki and Lee Jae-hak are in the candidate group.