The NC Dinosaurs officially announced on Wednesday that they would recruit left-hander Kyle Hart (31) as a new foreign pitcher. The conditions are 900,000 U.S. dollars (down payment of 200,000 dollars, annual salary of 500,000 dollars, option of 200,000 dollars). The NC Dinosaurs, who signed a contract with left-hander Daniel Castano (29) for 850,000 dollars (down payment of 130,000 dollars, annual salary of 520,000 dollars, option of 200,000 dollars), completed recruitment of two foreign pitchers including Hart on the same day.
Although the terms of the contract are similar, expectations for Hart, who received $50,000 more, can be seen as a little higher. Castano is better in his major league career, and although he is two years younger, there is a risk of injury for the last three years in a row. Castano may have a high high point, but in terms of stability, expectations are high for Hart.
Hart briefly played in the Major League with the Boston Red Sox in 2020. That year, he had one loss and an earned run average of 15.55 in four games (119 starts, 701 ⅔ innings) in his career in the big league. However, he has garnered 42 wins, 47 losses and an earned run average of 3.72 strikeouts in his seven seasons in the Minor League.
He underwent Tommy John surgery when he was in college, but since joining the professional league, he has rotated throughout the game without any major injuries. He is stable in that he is a starting pitcher with strong pitching in innings. This year, he recorded four wins, six losses and an earned run average of 4.58 strikeouts in 19 games (18 starts and 89 ⅓ innings) at Triple-A.
The speed is not as fast as 149 kilometers, but he uses a slider that flows outside the left-handed batter while throwing modified fastballs such as two-seam and cutter along with his four-seam. He only has a hit rate of 1609 against Triple-A left-handed hitters this year.
Hart’s distinctive feature is that he is a left-handed pitcher who is 196 centimeters tall. In the KBO league, where left-handed hitters dominate, left-handed pitchers are a little more advantageous. In particular, left-handed pitchers with high batting RBIs used to make a soft landing in the league quickly when they hid the ball or had a clear change.
Gary Les (former KIA-Doosan), Brad Thomas (former Hanwha), Benjamin Zukic (former LG), Shane Uman (former Lotte-Hanwha), Chris Seddon (former SK), Brooks Raley (former Lotte), Ryan Peerband (former Nexen), and Chad Bell (former Hanwha) are among the successful foreign left-handers who are taller than 190 centimeters. All of them played for more than two seasons.
Charlie Barnes (189 cm tall) of Lotte, Wes Benjamin (189 cm tall) of KT, and Brandon Waddell (190 cm tall), who is highly likely to renew his contract with Doosan, are both tall left-handers. Though not overwhelming the Korean league, they are now well-calculated due to their outstanding performance and consistency.
NC Dinosaurs had many successful foreign players. First baseman Eric Thames, pitcher Drew Lucinski and three other foreign players returned to the U.S. through major league contracts, taking advantage of their outstanding performances at the NC Dinosaurs. They left the Major League due to release of players and failure to renew contract, respectively, but catcher Christian Betancourt of the Miami Marlins and outfielder Nick Martini of the Cincinnati Reds are also in the Major League right now. Eric Hacker, a pitcher who had a long career for five years from 2013 to 2017, and outfielder Aaron Altair, the first winner of the team in 2020, have many successful foreign players in pitching and hitting. The foreign players NC has chosen seem to be different.
Meanwhile, Hart said, “I’m honored to be a part of the NC Dinos. I’m looking forward to the moment when I’m with passionate fans on the mound at NC Park in Changwon. I haven’t heard much about the KBO, but I know that both pitching and hitting are very high quality leagues. I also know that many players who have shown good performances in the KBO are showing good performances in the Major League.” “The most important part is to be a good team player. I want to help my teammates as a good team player and win the Korean Series,” he said. “As the breadwinner outside of baseball, I want to experience the beauty of Changwon with my family and passionate fans.”