When the KBO season kicked off in early May, we took a look at four players in the league with Reds connections. Now that the KBO is a month into their season, let’s check in to see how those four former Reds are faring.
Tucker is off to a strong start, slashing .336/.398/.645 through 27 games and 118 plate appearances. His .336 average ranks 13th in the KBO, and his 36 hits, 72 total bases, and 8 home runs each rank in the top five in the league. Additionally, he’s currently the league leader with 29 RBI. His team, the Kia Tigers, is currently 15-12, tied for fourth in the league.
Straily has pitched well thus far, posting a 2.70 ERA and 3.54 FIP in 33 ⅓ innings across six starts for the Lotte Giants. Control has been an issue, as he has walked 10.7% of batters faced so far, which would be the highest of his career. He has posted good strikeout numbers, with a 26.4 K% so far, also the best of his career, albeit against lesser competition. He also ranks in the top five in the league in strikeouts. Additionally, he has only allowed two home runs. He has just a 1-2 record, and his team has struggled to a 11-15 record as a whole, ranking seventh in the 10-team league.
Despaigne has also turned in a solid performance for the KT Wiz thus far. In 37 innings, spanning six starts, Despaigne has a 3.89 ERA and 3.28 FIP. While neither pops off the page, his numbers are significantly more impressive if you remove his recent start on June 2 against Doosan. In that start, Despaigne allowed 10 runs on 15 hits, including two home runs, in five innings of work. If you remove that start, he has allowed just six earned runs in 32 innings, good for a 1.69 ERA. Additionally, while his 19.4% strikeout rate is nothing special, he has paired it with a minuscule 3.2% walk rate. He currently holds a 2-1 record, and the Wiz are 11-15 overall, tied with Straily’s Giants.
Not all of the players with Reds connections have had success this year. Lively has struggled to a 5.40 ERA in an admittedly small sample of just 13.1 innings over four starts. In his third start, Lively left after completing just one inning when he was hit on the hand by a line drive. The bad luck continued in his most recent start on May 22, lasting just one batter before leaving with another injury. It was later reported to be a ruptured rib muscle, and he is expected to be out for eight weeks.
[Photo Credit: Republic of Korea]