Foreign hitter Austin Dean (30-LG Twins) sings the “win” song.
Austin has eight game-winning hits in the KBO through 22 days, two ahead of second-place Guillermo Heredia (SSG Rangers – six). At his current pace, he’s on pace to surpass last year’s leader, Kim Hyun-soo (LG), with 17. For reference, last season’s top foreign hitter was Jose Pirela (Samsung Lions) with 12.
More hits means more wins. Considering LG has 26 wins (1 tie, 14 losses), Austin has been responsible for 30.8% of the team’s wins. Moon Bo-kyung and Oh Ji-hwan (over 4) have also scored a lot of goals, but Austin’s performance is unique.
It’s not just the number of hits either. In 40 games, Austin batted .333 (156-for-52) with four home runs and 32 RBIs. His on-base percentage (0.374) and slugging percentage (0.462) combined for an OPS of 0.836. RC/27 of 6.85, first among foreign hitters. RC/27 is the estimated runs scored if a batter makes all 27 outs, and the league average this season is 4.27.
At the time of the signing, it didn’t get much attention. Austin’s salary this season is $400,000 (520,000 won), the lowest among foreign hitters in baseball’s 10 major leagues. It’s less than Brian O’Grady (Hanwha Eagles – $700,000 per year), who is currently rumored to be on his way out due to an extreme batting slump. Worst contract terms among foreign hitters: LG agreed to a contract with Abraham Almonte and then backed out. When Almonte failed his medical, they needed a backup plan, and Austin was their choice. He wasn’t their first choice.
Coincidentally, he bombed the preliminary exam. Austin’s batting average in exhibition games was .194 and his on-base percentage was .275. As most offensive metrics dropped, so did the criticism of the player. The pressure was on for LG, which had experienced a “foreign hitter atrocity” in recent years. However, LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop saw potential. “During the game, I saw how well she was able to handle the changeup, and when I saw her make contact with the changeup and watch her, I thought she would improve unconditionally. It’s hard to adapt to it if you swing at it ridiculously, but it’s not ‘bad’ if you can handle it,” he encouraged. In the real world, Austin is a “natural” hitter. As soon as the regular season started, he improved his hitting. His swinging strike rate (7.1%) and strikeouts per plate appearance (KK/PA-0.14) are both steady. 메이저사이트