Will Lee Jung-hoo, who has grown into the best hitter in the KBO League by winning 5 batting crowns and the regular season MVP (Most Valuable Player), will be able to meet his natural enemy Brooks Rayleigh (35, New York Mets) again?
Major League Baseball (MLB) official website MLB.com released the final list of 20 countries participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 10th (Korean time). Rayleigh was on the roster as a member of the US National Team.
Rayleigh is a representative KBO League ‘successful case of reverse export’. After signing with the Lotte Giants in 2015 and entering the KBO League, he remained on the Korean stage for five years. He went 48-53 with 910 and 2/3 innings in 152 career games, with 755 strikeouts and a 4.13 earned run average. Five years is the longest foreign record in Lotte club history.
Rayleigh was known as the representative ‘left-handed lion’ when he played in the KBO league. Left-handed batters couldn’t quite hit his ball thrown in the third quarter. He posted a career batting average of 0.295 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.830 against right-handed hitters, while he posted a career batting average of 0.223 and 0.557 OPS against left-handed hitters.
Lee Jung-hoo, who was considered the best hitter in the KBO League, also could not overcome Rayleigh. Lee Jung-hoo recorded only 6 strikeouts with 1 walk, 1 walk and 1 walk in 15 at-bats in 17 head-to-head matches. Considering that Lee Jung-hoo recorded a career batting average of 0.332 and an OSP of 0.853 against left-handed pitchers, this is a very unusual result.
Rayleigh’s unique pitching worked in the big leagues as well. Rayleigh, who left Lotte, returned to MLB in 2020 in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. In the same year, Rayleigh, who remained in the big leagues after moving to the Houston Astros, made a soft landing with an average ERA of 3.94 in 17 games and 6 holds.
After the 2021 season, Rayleigh signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, who paid more attention to his arm angle. Last year, the second year of his contract, he played 60 games, 1 win, 2 losses, 6 saves, 25 holds, 53⅔ innings, 61 strikeouts, and an average ERA of 2.68, serving as the team’s key bullpen. A true career high, he will remain in the big leagues with the Mets even after his contract expires.
For Lee Jung-hoo, the WBC is a ‘place of verification’. If he, who had few opportunities to hit the balls of high-level MLB pitchers, attacks pitchers with terrible pitches in the WBC, it is enough to catch the eyes of MLB scouts. In particular, if he takes revenge on Rayleigh, who was considered his natural enemy and showed competitiveness in the MLB, he can sufficiently appeal his strengths. 바카라
Of course, the possibility of Rayleigh meeting with the Korean national team is still low. He can meet only when Korea advances to the semifinals or finals and the United States also advances. For Korea, which has not made it past the first round for the past 14 years, advancing to the quarterfinals is a priority.
Meanwhile, in addition to Rayleigh, several players who were ‘reverse-exported’ from the KBO League also participated in this tournament. Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks), who played for the SK Wyverns for four seasons, was also selected for the U.S. national team. Robert Stark, a foreign pitcher with a fastball who played for the Doosan Bears last year, joined the Israeli national team, and outfielder Roger Bernardina, who led the KIA Tigers to victory in the 2017 Korean Series (KS), will play for the Dutch national team.
Wang Wei-chung, who played for the NC Dinos in 2018, will play for the Taiwan national team, and Andrew Albers, who played for the Hanwha Eagles in 2014, will play for Canada. Lovel Garcia (Italy), who competed as a substitute foreign player for the LG Twins last year, and Henry Ramos (Puerto Rico), who signed a contract with KT Wiz but were released after 18 games due to an injury, will also appear. Warwick Saupold, who played for Hanwha, took the mound for the Australian national team, and Chris Oxspring, a veteran born in 1977 who played for LG and Lotte Giants, was on the reserve list.