“We’re so hard!” KBO’s strongest four starters also shouted a powerful mound, creating a winning formula for Hanwha

March 28, 2024 | by

The mound, which was an expectation factor, is shining. Rich starters and bullpen pitchers, who have shown promise since last year, create synergies. Even if they don’t get many points, they make a formula to win by losing the least number of points. Hanwha aims at the fall baseball stage for the first time in six years with a solid mound.

The composition of the starting lineup is different, too. A case in point is the fact that foreign pitchers are starting fourth. Usually, two foreign pitchers take charge of one-two punch. Considering variables depending on the opening schedule, it is common for one foreign pitcher to start the season with one starting pitcher and the other with three starting pitchers.

However, the Hanwha Eagles is different from ordinary teams. As Korea’s best pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin returned, he assumed the first starting pitcher. Felix Peña started the season as the second starting pitcher, and Kim Min-woo, who competed for the last spot in the starting lineup, started the season as the third starting pitcher. Then, Ricardo Sanchez became the fourth starting pitcher, not the same as the fourth starting pitcher. He pitched 150 kilometers in his left hand, and was able to handle some innings for the fourth time.

The power of Sanchez, the fourth starter, was revealed in the match against the SSG in Munhak on the 27th. He consistently pitched more than 150 kilometers of fastballs and completed his mission with one run in 5.2 innings. Sanchez left the mound with 90 pitches set for the day.

On the other hand, opposing starter Park Jong-hoon was substituted early with six outs during two innings. After Sanchez, the bullpen pitcher Han Seung-hyuk, Lee Min-woo, Joo Hyun-sang, and Park Sang-won collaborated to secure no run. Hanwha won 3-1 in overall mound height, outpacing SSG. Even Peña Kim Min-woo and Sanchez garnered starting wins to secure their third consecutive win.

After the game, Sanchez said, “Our mound is really solid. Moreover, players have good cohesion. I think good results will come out on the ground.”

He deserves a sense of cohesion. Sanchez wore a Hanwha uniform in May last year. As Birch Smith, who took the mound only in the opening game due to injury, was released early, Sanchez was selected as a substitute. He has no experience in starting the big league but rotated in the minor league, and when he was recruited, he has high possibility to grow to 25 years old in the future. The Hanwha Eagles chose Sanchez, who can paint a picture of growing together, rather than bringing in a half-baked big league pitcher.

The result was more than half successful. Sanchez continued to rotate and play 126 innings. He suffered ups and downs but he also had unusual ball power as a left-handed pitcher and displayed potential. Hanwha decided to continue its relationship with Sanchez when it was difficult to supply foreign pitchers last winter.

Sanchez said, “Last year, I felt I lacked a lot. I felt that I needed to prepare better this year. In fact, I focused a lot on building a body that could complete a season perfectly. Lee Ji-pung, the training coach, helped me a lot,” adding, “I think this is the secret to consistently throwing more than 150 kilometers. That’s how hard I worked out with Lee Ji-pung.”

With Sanchez completing his task as the fourth starter, Moon is next. Moon is also the fifth starter, which is not the same as the fifth starter. A pitcher who served as the ace for the Korean national team at last year’s Asian Games and Asian professional baseball 고소득알바championships is in the last spot of the starting lineup.

Moon Dong-ju’s 5th starter was not intended. Contrary to Kim Min-woo’s better-than-expected pace during the exhibition game, Moon Dong-ju’s pace dropped. Depending on the situation, he changed the 5th starting position for Kim Min-woo and the 3rd starting position for Moon Dong-ju.

Last year, Moon played 118.2 innings in 23 games, winning eight games and losing eight with a 3.72 ERA. He shot a maximum speed of 160 kilometers, ushering in the era of 100 miles of Korean baseball. In terms of potential, there is no match for Moon. In other words, if Moon rises further than last year, the Hanwha Eagles’ starting lineup can seek the strongest position. His winning formula will also strengthen.


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