This year’s Hanwha Eagles’ first starting pitcher and fourth batter are foreigners who have experienced Japanese professional baseball. Right-handed pitcher Birch Smith (33) and right-handed left-handed outfielder Brian O’Grady (31) have more in common. Last year, he played side by side with the Seibu Lions in the Pacific League as a key player. His relationship with Asian baseball continued through Japan and into the KBO League.
The two played an active part in the US major leagues until just before advancing to Japan in 2022. Smith pitched for the Oakland Athletics and O’Grady played for the San Diego Padres. When he failed to establish himself as a main player, he took on a new challenge.
Although he did not achieve any notable success in Japan, he adapted smoothly and was recognized. This is the reason why Hanwha, who finished last for three consecutive years, selected them after careful consideration. This year’s finish and the team’s leap forward are only possible when the two players, who are the core players, do their best.
Smith, who appeared in 20 games last year mainly as a midfielder, recorded 1 win, 4 holds, 1 save and an ERA of 3.29. He pitched a total of 38⅓ innings, but his injury prevented him from playing the season normally. In 123 games, O’Grady posted a batting average of 2.13 with 15 homers and 46 RBIs. 토토사이트
Smith offered to renew the contract with the Seibu club as a midway point, but Hanwha, who wanted a starting pitcher, took the hand. O’Grady was the only foreign hitter from six teams in the Pacific League to fill the required at-bat. He was second on the team in home runs.
There is a reason why Hanwha has selected a player with experience in Japanese professional baseball as the key force for pitching. After going through a certain portion of verification in a league with a higher level than ours, I thought that the possibility of success was high. In other words, I thought the probability of failure was low. It was also taken into consideration that he had a high understanding of Asian culture through his experience.
It is not necessarily successful just because you went through Japanese professional baseball, but there are many examples of good results. All three foreign players of the Samsung Lions, considered the best in the KBO League, have experienced Japanese professional baseball. 1st starter David Buchanan joined in 2020, outfielder Jose Pirella joined in 2021, and 2nd starter Albert Suarez joined in 2022 and will go with them this year as well.
Buchanan and Suarez came to Korea after playing for the Yakult Swallows and Pirella for the Hiroshima Carp. There were many players who performed well in Korea via Japan, such as Jamie Romac (from Yokohama Baystars), who was the main player in winning the SK Wyverns. Watching Smith and O’Grady, the people of Hanwha picture this success story in their heads.
The two foreign players are adjusting smoothly. He is receiving good reviews from Arizona spring camp in the United States. On the 12th, the Hanwha team released a spring camp press release titled ‘Butch Smith, exemplary work ethic and thorough self-management’. As stated in the title, Smith said he was steadily preparing for the season.
Smith joined the Hanwha squad on January 29 (local time) and did self-training such as catch ball on the 30th, a rest day. He said, “The most important thing in this camp is to adapt to the new environment. I want to get closer to my teammates to adapt. I will talk a lot about the prepared plan with the coaches and study the league to prepare for the season.”
According to the club, on the 13th, it was decided to treat all pitchers to a meal. Respect colleagues and work together
Attitude seems good.
In a recent interview with Sports Chosun, O’Gredi said, “I want to show leadership, energize the team, and help the team win the best I can.” He talked about his teammates and team atmosphere, as well as his central hitter role.