Lim Chan-gyu, ‘Incisive judge’, will ‘FA luck’ be a blessing?

January 25, 2023 0 Comments

In the 2022 KBO League, the LG Twins were considered one of the favorites to win, but failed to win after 28 years, finishing second in the regular season and third in the final rankings. LG’s biggest weakness was the starting mound, which caused concerns as a factor of anxiety right before the start of the regular season. 

LG’s foreign pitchers, Kelly and Plutko, won 16 wins and 15 wins, respectively, and swept 1st place and tied 2nd place, respectively, and jointly won 31 wins. Nevertheless, the LG starting lineup was only 4th with an ERA of 3.66 and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.680. Quality starts with 3 earned runs or less over 6 innings were only 6th with 59. This is because domestic starting pitchers were sluggish despite having the strongest foreign pitching duo in the league.

Ahead of the opening, the pitcher who was selected as LG’s third starting pitcher was Lim Chan-gyu, who is entering his 12th year as a pro. The prospect that Lim Chan-gyu’s performance will determine LG’s final scorecard gained strength. Expectations were high that Lim Chan-gyu, who was scheduled to acquire free agent qualification for the first time after the season, would display the so-called ‘FA Lloyd’.

However, Lim Chan-gyu was sluggish with an average ERA of 5.04 and OPS of 0.753 with 6 wins and 11 losses. He had nearly twice as many losses as wins, and his earned run average was in the 5-point range. WHIP, which indicates average on-base allowed per inning, was 1.47, approaching 1.5, making pitching unstable. The WAR (based on the KB Report), which represents the contribution to victory compared to substitute players, was low at 1.04.

Since the overall index was not good, the ability to digest innings, an important virtue of a starting pitcher, was also not satisfactory. He started all 23 games, but made only three quality starts. He was excluded from first-team entries for a total of 33 days, including three appearances on the injured list. In the end, he only digested 103.2 innings, far short of the 144 innings required. 

Lim Chan-gyu was included in the playoff entry, but the opportunity to start did not return. It was because he had never won a win by starting in the past postseason and overlapped with a sluggish regular season. Lim Chan-gyu took the mound in the bottom of the 8th inning, where LG trailed 4-6 in Game 3 of the playoffs, and 1 inning was the only appearance in last fall baseball. It was a pitch that was difficult to attach great significance to because it had nothing to do with the game. It is interpreted that the LG bench’s expectations for Lim Chan-gyu were not very high. 스포츠토토

The analysis that Lim Chan-gyu’s sluggishness is related to the decrease in fastball velocity is gaining strength. The average speed of the fastball was 143.1 km/h in 2021, making it possible to compete head-to-head using the fastball. But in 2022, it fell 1.9 km/h to 141.2 km/h. As the competitiveness of the fastball declined, the reliance on breaking balls such as curveballs and changeups increased, so he could not overwhelm opponent hitters. 

After the season, Lim Chan-gyu obtained free agent status, but gave up his application. The polarization in the free agency market of Stove League this time is clear, and the size of the contract varies greatly depending on the value of the player, and even non-contractors are appearing. Lim Chan-gyu’s ‘FA relapse’ may have been an appropriate decision. However, if his personal performance does not improve this year, it may be evaluated that he would have been better off not doing ‘FA’. 

Lim Chan-gyu started with the 3rd starter last year, but this year, as he started with the 5th starter, his status in the team is expected to decline. It is noteworthy whether Lim Chan-gyu will dramatically rebound and lead LG’s first championship in 29 years and reach the ‘FA jackpot’.

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