Sanchez and Elias are replacement pitchers. Coincidentally, they are replacements for pitchers who entered the KBO with a $1 million cap hit in their first year as an outfielder, but were sidelined with injuries before pitching a single game.
Sanchez is Butch Smith’s replacement. Butch Smith started the opening game of the 2023 KBO League on April 1 against the Kiwoom Heroes and was removed after 2⅔ innings due to shoulder soreness. Butch Smith was eventually designated for assignment on April 19, with Sanchez taking his place for a total of $400,000.
Sanchez arrived on April 27 and, after an internal adjustment period, made his debut on May 11 against Daejeon Samsung Electronics. In four innings, he threw just 53 pitches and was aggressive with his velocity, allowing just one walk. Two hits, one walk, no runs. It was a very convincing debut. It was a shame that manager Carlos Suvero was fired after his debut.
The expectations for Sanchez continued on Sunday against Lotte in Daejeon. Five innings, three hits, one walk, and one run. He didn’t get the win because he didn’t get any help from the bats, but it was enough to make him an outside ace. 메이저놀이터
Sanchez finally got his long-awaited KBO debut on the 23rd against KIA. He pitched five innings of three-hit ball, striking out eight and walking none, and was helped by a batting order that exploded in the first inning. In particular, he earned a complete-game victory against KIA’s one-hit wonder Shawn Anderson, snapping the team’s three-game losing streak.
In three games, he has pitched 14 innings with eight hits, two walks, 12 strikeouts, and one earned run for a 0.64 ERA. All three starts were at home, so we’ll have to wait and see how he fares on the road, but it’s a solid outside ace for Hanwha.
Along with Sanchez, Elias replaced $1 million outfielder Annie Romero, who joined the KBO on May 4 for a total of $540,000. Romero didn’t even make a start before being released due to a shoulder injury.
Elias arrived in Korea three days later on May 7 and made his first appearance in the Futures League on May 18 before making his debut on May 24 against the Incheon LG Twins. It was a crucial game against the leaders after dropping to second place, a step back from the co-leaders.
He gave up three runs on five hits (one home run) in five innings with two walks and four strikeouts, which wasn’t a great performance, but considering it was against a team with the top batting average in the league and a batting average in scoring position of more than three percent, it was acceptable. However, the four walks left me with some work to do on my pitches.
The bats came alive at the right time. Park Sung-ho hit his first career grand slam in the first inning, and Choi Joo-hwan followed with a two-run homer in the fourth. While it is a pitcher’s blessing to pitch well and not get a win, it is also a team’s blessing if they can get a win with the help of their bats, even if they give up some runs.
With the addition of Elias, SSG has a solid five-man starting rotation of Kirk McCarty, Gwang-hyun Kim, Won-seok Oh, and Young-jin Song. Hanwha also has a stable five-man rotation of Ferix Peña, Min-woo Kim, Min-jae Jang, and Dong-joo Moon with the addition of Sanchez.
SSG is looking to win the title for the second year in a row. Hanwha will be looking to avoid finishing in last place for the third year in a row. That’s why the addition of Elias and Sanchez is so welcome.