Ahead of the opening of the 2023 KBO League, the NC Dinos, who were predicted to be in the lower ranks by experts, are doing well. As of the 13th, it is 17-16 with a win rate of 0.515 and is in fourth place. However, on the 12th and 13th, he suffered two consecutive losses against Gocheok Kiwoom Heroes, and his 50% win rate was threatened.
Especially for NC, the reverse defeat on the 12th was very painful. At the beginning of the ninth inning, when the score was tied 3-3, Son A-seop’s timely hit to the left center led NC to 4-3, and a fourth consecutive victory seemed imminent. However, at the end of the ninth inning, Kim Si-hoon, who acted as a temporary finisher, was hit by a 3-run home run from Lim Ji-yeol, recording a blown save loss with 3 hits, 1 home run, 1 walk and 4 runs in 0.1 innings. Perhaps because of the aftermath of the 4-7 defeat on the day, NC also lost 2-9 on the next day, the 13th.
In the game on the 12th, NC finishing pitcher Lee Yong-chan could not pitch. It was because if he pitched for two days in a row until the match against KT Wiz in Suwon on the 11th and harvested saves and played until the game on the 12th, it would be a continuous fight on the 3rd. NC has come to realize the importance of Lee Yong-chan, a built-in finisher.
※ NC Lee Yong-chan’s major records in the last 5 seasons
▲ NC Lee Yong-chan’s main records for the last 5 seasons (Source: Baseball Record Office KBReport.com)
ⓒ KB Report
Lee Yong-chan is recording an average ERA of 5.40 with 1 win, 1 loss and 7 saves. His OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) is stable at 0.649 and WHIP (average on-base allowed per inning) is 1.28, but his ERA is not as good. This is because, starting with the match against Lotte Giants in Changwon on April 21st, they lost points in 4 consecutive games. In particular, on April 23, against Changwon Lotte, he became a losing pitcher with 5 hits, 3 walks and 5 runs in 1 inning.
Lee Yong-chan was on the injured list for 10 days from April 30 due to accumulated fatigue and returned to the first team on May 10. Afterwards, he regained stability by posting two consecutive scoreless saves.
It is necessary to keep an eye on Lee Yong-chan’s progress this season. This is because many of the players who participated in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March are suffering from injuries or sluggishness. Lee Yong-chan’s average speed with his fastball is not as good as last year. His fastball average velocity, which was 147.3 km / h last year, has dropped 1.7 km / h to 145.6 km / h this year. It has become very important for NC whether veteran Lee Yong-chan, who was born in 1989 and is playing the 34-year-old season, will remain alive after the full-fledged heat wave begins.
▲ NC Lee Yong-chan, whose fastball average velocity decreased by 1.7km/h from last year
ⓒ NC Dinos
Lee Yong-chan, who entered the professional league in 2007 with the first nomination from the Doosan Bears, obtained his first FA qualification after the end of the 2020 season. However, after appearing in only five games in 2020, Doosan did not offer a free agent retention contract to Lee Yong-chan, who was undergoing rehabilitation after undergoing elbow surgery in June.
In May 2021,안전놀이터 NC reached out to Lee Yong-chan, who had been unable to find a team throughout the winter and became a ‘FA lost child’. He signed a free agent contract for a total of 2.7 billion won over 3+1 years. Lee Yong-chan, who has established himself as NC’s closer, harvested 45 saves for about two years. It is no exaggeration to say that Lee Yong-chan is a ‘cost-effective FA’ considering the recent skyrocketing trend in the free agent market. There are many young pitchers throughout the starter and bullpen, and Lee Yong-chan holds the center on the NC mound, which has ups and downs in every game.
Lee Yong-chan has not yet experienced the postseason after transferring to NC. It is noteworthy whether Lee Yong-chan will take the lead in NC’s fall baseball by cruising without WBC sequelae.