In 2024, it’s expected to be the most “lefty” season ever

Left-handed pitching has gone from being dominated by right-handed pitchers to a more left-handed mix. In 2024, it’s expected to be the most “lefty” season ever.

In the 2024 season, nine out of 20 foreign pitchers in the KBO’s 10 clubs are left-handers, with a similar ratio to right-handers. The KBO hasn’t had this many left-handed pitchers before a season since the introduction of the foreign player program in 1998.

Five left-handers were re-signed: KT’s Wes Benjamin, SSG’s Roenis Elias, Doosan’s Brandon Waddell, Lotte’s Charlie Barnes, and Hanwha’s Ricardo Sanchez. Benjamin, Brandon and Barnes will be entering their third seasons.

LG added left-hander Dietrick Enns from Nippon Professional Baseball, while NC was the only team in the 10-team field to have two lefties in Daniel Castano and Kyle Hart. Kiwoom added Enmanuel De Jesus to the mix, bringing the total number of lefties to nine.

The number of foreign left-handed pitchers in the KBO is on the rise, with 10 and 11 registered in 2022 and 2023, respectively, but 2024 will be the first time there will be nine before the start of the season, excluding substitutes. This is the most since 2013, when there were seven (SK Chris Seddon, Jojo Reyes, Lotte Shane Yoo-Man, LG Benjamin Zukic, Nexen Andy VanHecken, 라인카지노 Hanwha Dana Leebrand, NC Adam Wilke).

Baseball favors left-handedness, and it’s a scarce commodity.

Compared to right-handers, it’s harder to find good pitchers. Foreign pitchers are prioritized for their fastballs, and left-handed pitchers were in short supply. Even in the KBO’s foreign player program, which was introduced in 1998, lefties were rare compared to righties. In 2006, all 12 pitchers were right-handers, with no lefties.

However, the trend changed in the 2010s, and left-handed pitchers began to become more common. The continued success of foreign pitchers who utilized their left-handed strengths, even if they weren’t strong power pitchers, such as LG’s Jukichi Choo in 2011-2013, Lotte’s Shane Yoo in 2012-2014, Nexen’s Ben Hecken in 2012-2018, SK’s Chris Seddon in 2013-2015-2016, Lotte’s Brooks Reilly in 2015-2019, and Kiwoom’s Eric Yokishi in 2019-2023, has led teams to seek out lefties.

It’s also worth noting that the KBO is becoming increasingly left-handed as right-handed hitting becomes more prevalent. The need for left-handed hitters is growing in the league, where the top 1-4 in batting average last year were all left-handed hitters. Five lefties in 2022 and six in 2023 were brought in as replacement foreign pitchers during the season, and not many of them failed.

Lefties are also more likely to fail than righties, which is another reason why teams looking for stability are looking for lefties. Whether or not the big left-handedness of 2024 will continue will depend on how these nine foreign pitchers perform in the new year.

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