The evaluation of quality was not a joke.
KIA Tigers’ new foreign pitchers Will Crowe and James Nail made their first bullpen session. Crowe and Nail threw their first bullpen session at the MIT Ball Park in Nara Bunda, a suburb of Canberra, Australia on Sunday (Korea time). With pitchers coach Chung Jae-hoon, bullpen coach Lee Dong-geol, and players watching, the two pitchers checked their condition by throwing around 30 pitches each.
The two pitchers
bullpen sessions simultaneously continued with cheers. Nail skillfully sprayed two cores, a cutter, a fastball, and a sweeper. Notably, the sweeper, which was moving closer to the batter's body, was reminiscent of Eric Peddy of the Chicago White Sox, who played for the NC Dinos last season. Kias coaching staff watched Nail throw from behind the bullpen, nodding their heads and expressing satisfaction.
Crow was second to none. He warmed up his shoulders by banking on his fastball, changeup, curveball, and two-seam sweeper. Even though it was his first bullpen session, he displayed sharp control. After receiving pitches from the two pitchers through rotation, the catcher at Kia’s bullpen session skillfully performed changeups that bent at large angles, making it difficult for him to catch the pitches easily.
KIA, which had been hovering around the semi-finals for the past two seasons. Foreign pitchers` problems played a major role. It failed to regain stability in its starting rotation as it forced its players to leave the team for two consecutive seasons. Starting as Sean Nolin and Ronnie Williams in 2022, both suffered injury and slump, and even brought in Thomas Panoni instead of Ronnie, but in the end, the three players ended up with a total of 14 wins (eight wins, three wins, three wins, and three wins). Last year, it recruited Sean Anderson and Adonis Medina, who were good in ball power, but had difficulties as they revealed problems in ball control against Korean hitters. Consequently, both were replaced. Four foreign pitchers gained 16 wins. With injuries to its main players overlapping, Kia ended the season with a winning rate of over 50 percent with 73 wins, two draws and 69 losses, finishing sixth place, a one-game behind the Doosan Bears.
Crowe had experience as a full-time starter in the U.S. Major League Baseball in the 2021 season. He played in 26 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and played 116 ⅔s. His performance this season is four wins and eight losses with an ERA of 5.48. Although he is an impressive player, he cannot be disregarded as a full-time starter in the big league. He gained extensive experience as a starting pitcher and a bullpen session in the 2022 season by transforming into a bullpen session. He played only five games last year due to a shoulder injury, but after taking a rest, he is expected to recover his performance this year. Not only KIA but also Japanese professional baseball teams have been paying attention to Crowe. Nail was recognized for his skills to the extent that he was included in the 40-member roster of the St. Louis Cardinals this season. This is why some say that he is qualitatively different from other pitchers who served as Kia Tigers. 꽁머니지급
The two pitchers will have to undergo several more bullpen sessions, live pitching, practice games, and exhibition games to welcome the opening series. While the first bullpen session is by no means the whole season, it has certainly raised expectations.