The days of the ‘205K’ strikeout king are long gone, and the ‘5-man’ is overwhelming… It’s time to let go of the nostalgia

The Lotte Giants’ Dan Streeley, 35, seems to be reaching his limit. For the Lotte autumn baseball team, it’s time to make a cold decision.

When he first donned a Lotte uniform in the KBO in 2020, Straylor brought out the best in Dr K with his powerful fastball and sharp slider. He dominated the league, posting a 15-4 record in 31 games with a 2.50 ERA (54 earned runs in 194⅔ innings) and 205 strikeouts. The league’s strikeout title was his.

He was re-signed the following year and was less effective than the previous season, going 10-14 with a 4.07 ERA in 31 games (75 ER in 165⅔ innings). However, he remained a reliable foreign ace. In 2022, he left Lotte to pursue a major league career, but came in as a late-season replacement, going 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 11 games (24 earned runs in 62⅓ innings).

By signing a multi-year deal through this year, the hope was that he would continue his late-season form from last year, but as he approaches his mid-30s, his right-handedness has been linked to his performance. He managed to hold on last year, but his performance was below his 2021 standards.

Pitch Tracking System (PTS) data from Sport2eye confirms that Straily has been declining from his peak. His fastball velocity, movement, and revolutions per minute are all dropping.

Strily’s last three years of PTS fastball data (average velocity / upward movement / revs per minute)

2021 : 145.8 km / 26.7 cm / 2575.4 times
2022 : 143.3km / 26.9cm / 2373.2 times
2023 : 143km / 25.6cm / 2374.4 times

On 9 September, the resigned LG Electronics team won 7-4, but Stratton wasn’t smiling after his start. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks on 99 pitches in four innings. In the previous three games, he had gone at least five innings and kept his runs to a minimum, but today, he had a tough time facing the LG bats. He threw 62 pitches in the first inning, including 36 in the second. He held on with luck, but then collapsed. The bench almost blew a 6-1 lead by hoping for a lucky break.

His pitch count has risen, as pitches that would have been swung and missed in the past are now being cut for fouls. As a strikeout pitcher, this has led to the tragedy of Straily’s inability to strike out. At 18.2 pitches per inning, he’s far from ideal, and his strikeout numbers are suffering as he’s losing command and not getting fooled by his changeup. He’s also starting to fly balls in every game. This means that he’s losing power and can’t get a good grip on the ball. His up-and-down movement and revolutions-per-minute numbers are suffering.

He has become one of the few foreign players to play five innings. In his last nine games, he hasn’t pitched more than five innings. A quality start (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less) is the minimum expectation, but even that is not easy. In 16 games, he has four quality starts. He hasn’t pitched more than six innings in six straight games, with his last quality start coming on 2 June against KIA (7 innings, 8 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts, 2 runs). A bullpen overload is inevitable when a guy who should be a number one or two starter is pitching like a number four or five starter.스포츠토토

It’s time to let go of the notion that Straily has reached his limit. All 10 clubs agree that the market for replacements is difficult, but the teams that need it have made bold moves to replace their existing foreign players. They have moved quickly to find replacements by bringing back former players.

Doosan has brought back Brandon Waddell from last year’s team. Brandon has already made three consecutive quality starts to lead Doosan to an eight-game winning streak. KIA also brought back Thomas Pannoni, who played last year, and brought back Mario Sanchez from Taiwan. Sanchez made a strong impression in his debut against KT on 9 September, allowing one run on five hits (one home run) in 6⅓ innings with 10 strikeouts. Hanwha (Ricardo Sanchez) and SSG (Roenis Elias) also regained momentum after making quick decisions on replacements.

There is no reason to waste the WINNOW season, nor can we afford to be stubborn. When the time comes, you need to make bold decisions, but Lotte were late to the party compared to other clubs. As time goes on, the amount of money that can be paid to a replacement player gets smaller and smaller, so the chances of getting a decent player are getting smaller and smaller.

Everyone is scrambling to find a way to rebound and survive the mid-table pariah status. Can Lotte make a decision in the ‘golden time’ of the rebound, when the clock is ticking, to save one stalwart and watch the team go down?

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