The best in the KBO so far was Thames… Not anymore, the ‘reverse export legend’ has emerged

Eric Thames (37), who played in an NC uniform from 2014 to 2016, was a historic foreign hitter who bombed the KBO League. He had a batting average of .349, 124 home runs, and 382 RBIs in 390 games over three years. In 2015, he opened the door to the historic ’40-40 Club’.

Thames was a major league player from 2011 to 2012. But he wasn’t successful. He was, in his own way, a player whose skills were judged to some degree in the major leagues, and judged negatively at that. It seemed that the report “does not work” was written on it. However, when he made an outstanding performance in the KBO league, such reports began to be corrected.메이저사이트

Unlike the major leagues, Thames, who played consistently, got an opportunity to make up for his weaknesses in the process and proved that he was ready to challenge the major leagues again. In the end, Milwaukee, which noticed Thames’ skills, offered a three-year contract, and Thames’ thrilling return to the major leagues was made.

Until then, going to the KBO League meant the end of his major league career. A player who no longer has a team in the major leagues would choose a place to burn his last active duty. There were very few cases where they went back and did a good job. But Thames was different. He made a big success in Milwaukee and engraved the new word ‘reverse export’ in the KBO league. This made a great contribution to raising the status of the KBO League.

Especially the first season was amazing. He made a big success by leading the league home run king race. Thames’ remarkable performance led to far more doping tests than other players. Although his batting average dropped slightly as he went backwards, Thames played 138 games in 2017, hitting 0.247, 31 home runs, 83 RBIs, and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.877. At the time, Thames’ adjusted scoring production was 25 percent better than league average.

At the time, Thames’ contribution to victory (WAR) against substitute players was 2.3, as compiled by ‘Fan Graph’, a statistics site. It was a performance worth more than 16 million dollars. Thames completed a successful three-year contract with a WAR of 0.5 in 2018 and 2.6 in 2019. He is still remembered as a foreign player who can go down in the history of the KBO League.

▲ Thames played excellently for three years in Milwaukee, but did not continue after that.

▲ Kelly has a guaranteed major league contract until at least next year.

However, a player appeared who broke the ‘reverse export myth’ of Thames. Merrill Kelly (35, Arizona), who played for SK for four years from 2015 to 2018 and advanced to the major leagues, is the main character. It far surpassed Thames’ cumulative WAR (4.8) after her return to the major leagues.

Kelly was a player who had never played a single major league game before coming to SK. He couldn’t find his place on Tampa Bay’s then-thick pitching farm. However, he started to fill his territory by throwing a lot in SK, and as a starter, he showed stable inning digestibility and attracted attention from major league clubs. And he signed a 2+2 year contract with Arizona in 2019.

Kelly also started as Arizona’s fifth starter, but showed stable skills and made a soft landing. Kelly is now recognized as Arizona’s second starter, with 13 wins in 2019 and 13 last year. WAR rose to 1.9 in 2019, 2.3 in 2021, and 3.3 last year. He broke Thames’ record for the highest WAR in a single season for a ‘foreign player from the KBO’. His combined WAR over four years is 8.1, better than Thames’s.

He pitched 57⅓ innings in his first 10 games this year, posting a stable record of 5 wins and 3 losses with a 2.98 ERA, and is poised to break his personal best season. He’s already amassed a 1.2 WAR. Kelly signed a two-year, $18 million contract, and has a team option for 2025, allowing him to play in the major leagues for up to three more years. It is noteworthy how much more WAR he will build up in the future and how he will end the myth of reverse export.

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