Doosan Bears left-hander Brandon Waddell, 29, is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest replacement foreign players of all time.
On June 6, Brandon started against the Pohang Samsung Lions and pitched 7 innings, 98 pitches, 4 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts, and 1 run to lead the Bears to a 5-1 win. It was Brandon’s first win of the season. In his last two games, he was limited to one loss due to lack of offensive support despite getting quality starts, but today the offense provided a generous five runs to take the pressure off his shoulders.
Brandon’s season ERA is now 0.90, up slightly from 0.69. It’s only the third game of the season, but after seven innings of one-run ball, Brandon’s ERA should have dropped significantly. It’s not uncommon for top-flight aces to do that, and that’s what Brandon is doing right now.
Doosan first came into contact with Brandon last year. They first signed him as a replacement for Ariel Miranda, 34, who went down with an injury. His salary then was $230,000, $50,000 less than this year. Brandon went 5-3 with a 3.60 ERA in 65 innings over 11 games in his first year with Doosan, but he was not re-signed. While his velocity was too good to pass up, it was a question mark whether he could hold up as a full-time starter and handle innings-eater duties.
Still, Doosan kept in touch with Brandon. Brandon was eager to play in Korea again, and Doosan kept him at the top of their list of alternatives. They were ready to go back to the drawing board if something changed. It was because of this relationship that we were able to quickly release Dylan Pyle, who was expected to be the No. 2 starter this year, and bring in Brandon.
Brandon signed with the Rakuten Monkeys of the Taiwan Professional Baseball League this year and worked his way through the starting rotation, filling in the gaps he realized he had in Korea. In addition to having the stamina to last long innings, he has a new weapon in his arsenal: a big-angle slider. He realized the need for a big slider last year when he struggled against Korean hitters. With this change and evolution, opponents will struggle even with Brandon’s historical data.
Brandon struck out a career-high 11 batters on the day while limiting himself to 98 pitches over seven innings, which means he was aggressive with his strikes and managed his pitch count well. A whopping 70 of those 98 pitches were strikes. He utilized the inside and outside of his pitches to keep hitters off balance. His fastball topped out at 151 mph, and he utilized his slider (34 pitches) and cutter (21 pitches) to overpower hitters.
Brandon said after the game, “As a starting pitcher, you have to give everything you have on the mound to give your team a chance to win. I’m happy that I was able to do that today (June 6), and of course, I’m happy to get my first win back,” he said, adding, “Regardless of the outcome, you have to keep the ball count in your favor, and I think that’s why I had so many strikeouts.”토토사이트
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop can’t help but think that Brandon looks even prettier. Before Brandon joined the team, both the starting rotation and the bullpen were struggling to keep up with Korean pitchers, and we couldn’t be more grateful for Brandon’s ability to hold down a spot and pitch at least six innings.
“Brandon pitched his best game in the seventh inning. His pitches were perfect, his delivery was perfect. I congratulate him on his first win after pitching so well.”
Brandon’s arrival has helped Doosan jump from sixth to third place in the standings with a five-game winning streak. They were hoping to regain their 5 percent winning percentage from the first half of the season, but have improved their win-loss margin to +3 with 38 wins, 36 losses, and one draw. Doosan will continue to look upward as they look to crack the LG Twins and SSG Landers’ two-team system.
Brandon said, “We just passed the halfway point of the season. We’re just halfway through the season, and I’m determined to do my best to get the team to the top.” For Doosan, there is no such thing as a belly button.