Drew Luchinski (35, Oakland), sweeping the KBO League and re-challenging the Major League (MLB) stage. It seems that selection opportunity was the biggest consideration in his team selection.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an American media, had time to answer readers’ questions about the St. Louis Cardinals on the 4th (Korean time). Among them, Luchinski was mentioned while talking about reinforcing the starting lineup.
The media said, “St. Louis has not stopped trying to recruit pitchers,” but “St. Louis does not promise these pitching resources a guarantee of selection.”
St. Louis is said to be one of the teams courting Luczynski this winter. However, negotiations did not go smoothly, and in the end, Luchinski signed a contract with the Oakland Athletics on the 21st of last month for up to 8 million dollars (approximately 10.1 billion won) for 1+1 years.
Last year, St. Louis was a team that won the National League Central Division championship with 93 wins and 69 losses (0.574 win rate). On the other hand, Oakland recorded 102 losses and stayed at the bottom of the American League West division. But Luczynski’s choice was Oakland.
The difference between the two teams was, in the end, whether or not the selection opportunity was guaranteed. The media said, “St. Louis did not give the confidence that they could play as a starter like Oakland did,” and “(starter guarantee) is something that can appeal to players who want to build their value for the next contract after returning from overseas stage.” said.
Luchinski, who played in 41 major league games 메이저놀이터 (1 start) from 2014 to 2018, joined the NC Dinos of the KBO League ahead of the 2019 season. In his first season, he went 9-9 with a 3.05 earned run average in 30 games. Some pointed out that the pitching habit was exposed at the end of the season, but NC started renewing the contract with Luchinski.
And it turned out to be successful. Luchinski, who achieved outstanding results with a 19-5 record and 3.05 ERA in 2020, helped the team win the combined championship. The following year, he won 15 wins and was reborn as the true NC ace.
Last year, Seung-woon did not follow him and suffered, but he showed steady pitching. In the end, he recorded the lowest ERA (2.97), the most innings (193⅔), and strikeouts (194) in Korea.
Luczynski, who struck out 6.04 per nine innings in 2019, increased his strikeout rate to 9.02 last year. According to the baseball statistics website Statties, Luchinski’s average fastball velocity in the 2022 season was 149.1 km/h, which increased rather than 2019 (147.3 km). Here, he improved his pitch while refining his splitter and cutter.
Oakland is a team that has no choice but to give more starting opportunities compared to St. Louis. In Oakland last year, the only pitcher who filled the required innings (162 innings) was left-hander Cole Irvin (181 innings). Frankie Montas (New York Yankees), Sean Mynaya (San Francisco), and Chris Bassett (Toronto), who had kept the starting lineup for the team for the past few years, all left. It is different from St. Louis, where Adam Wainwright is alive and well, and Miles Michaels, Dakota Hudson, and Jordan Montgomery are holding on.
Although he is in his mid-30s, he is still in good shape, so if he proves his potential as a starter for one season in Oakland, he is likely to sign another contract. Recently, the major leagues are offering good contracts to pitchers in their mid-30s or older, such as Justin Verlander (40, New York Mets) and Jacob deGrom (35, Texas). It’s a different class, but Luchinski can join it too.