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Why Lotte chose Reyes

What Lotte Giants paid attention to by bringing in new foreign hitter Victor Reyes is his defensive ability.

Lotte also announced the renewal of the contract with foreign pitcher Charlie Barnes (28) on the 17th, announcing the news of recruiting a new foreign hitter Reyes. Reyes' contract terms are a total of $950,000 (1.24 billion won), including $700,000 in guarantees and $250,000 in incentives.

Jack Rex, a foreign player that Lotte acquired this season, had a hard time due to injury. As Nico Goodrum, a substitute, was sluggish, so replacing foreign fielders was definitive. Reyes is a switch hitter who debuted in the U.S. Major League in 2018 and posted a batting average of 0.264 with 16 homers and 107 RBIs in a total of 394 games. Based on the big league standards, the batting average for left-handed batters is 0.259, and the batting average for right-handed batters is 0.280.

Analysts say that he is a "badball heater" who actively swings the bat regardless of whether he strikes or not. The ratio of walks and strikeouts to those in the Major League Baseball (MLB) is 49-287 (MLB) 221-538 (Minor League), which is not very good. However, his contact capability based on a simple swing is not bad. Lotte recruited him with an expectation for a batting average of .300.

Reyes only played in Triple-A leagues and had 20 home runs in the International League this season. He benefited from the stadium. BB&T Ballpark, the home of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights under the Chicago White Sox, is 100 meters away from the home plate to the left fence. However, the right side is not as big as 96 meters. Compared to other stadiums, Reyes has an overwhelming number of home runs. In fact, Reyes tied for 28th in the International League's home run category, but his slugging percentage was 0.462, ranking 98th.

Lotte paid attention to Reyes' defense capability, which enabled him to play all outfield positions. Lotte Giants' Kim Min-seok, Yoon Dong-hee, Jeon Joon-woo, Ahn Kwon-soo and Hwang Sung-bin took turns as outfielders in this season. However, Lotte's defense capability has been deteriorating. Except for Yoon, his shoulder was not strong, and he often gave up points even when hitting short balls. Outfield defense efficiency was the lowest among the 10 teams.

Reyes mainly played corner outfield in Triple-A this season. He fully supported promising players in his team. This is partly due to his lack of competition with Billy Hamilton, who posted 326 steals in the big league.

For Lotte to achieve its first postseason advancement in seven years, it is essential to strengthen its outfield defense. Lotte's new manager Kim Tae-hyung is expected to judge the arrangement of outfielders, including Reyes, at the spring camp. "Reyes was also an outfielder with excellent defense in the MLB. He will upgrade our team's outfield defense," a club official said.

Earlier, Lotte also looked into several foreign outfielders who had already passed the KBO League. However, Lotte gave up the contract because its right to withholds has yet to be resolved, or because its physical condition did not match up with Yves (a phenomenon in which it has difficulty in throwing balls due to psychological problems). "Based on Reyes' athletic ability and concentration on baseball, I think he will quickly adapt to the KBO League. I hope he will play a central role in the team's batting lineup," Lotte General Manager Park Jun-hyuk said.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2023
 
 
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