Foreigners who bombed the KBO League with ‘four hits + MVP’, ‘friendship’ KT returns… “We’re talking.”

“Mel Rojas Jr. is close to reaching an agreement with the KT Wiz of the KBO, according to a source,” MLB Insider Mike Rodriguez wrote on social media on Saturday (ET).

KT parted ways with foreign hitter Anthony Alford at the end of this season. The KBO announced the list of suspended players on March 30. Alford was removed from KT’s disabled list and left the team.

Alford joined KT in the middle of last season as a replacement for Henry Ramos and hit .286 with 14 home runs, 50 RBIs, 48 runs scored and a .871 OPS in 80 games. He then re-signed with KT. This season, he continued to perform well, hitting .289 with 15 home runs, 70 RBIs, 83 runs scored, and a .812 OPS in 133 games.토토사이트

KT Alford during the game between the LG Twins and KT Wiz in the third inning of the Korean Series game of the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason’ at KT Wiz Park on November 10, 2023 in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea./My Daily

However, there were some disappointments in the postseason. In the playoffs against the NC Dinos, he hit .143 with two doubles, one home run, two RBIs and a .725 OPS, and in the Korean Series against the LG Twins, he struggled, hitting .125 with two doubles, two RBIs and a .410 OPS. He was also shaky defensively and eventually parted ways with KT.

One of the leading candidates to replace Alford in KT’s lineup next season is Rojas. Rojas already has experience playing in the KBO and with KT, so he shouldn’t have too many adjustment issues.

Rojas first donned a KT uniform in the 2017 season and had a tremendous four-season career. In his rookie season, he hit .302 with 18 home runs, 56 RBIs, 52 runs scored, and a .911 OPS in 83 games.

He followed that up in 2018 by playing in all 144 games, hitting .305 with 172 hits, 43 home runs, 114 RBIs, 114 runs scored, and a .979 OPS. In 2019, he followed that up with 167 hits, 24 home runs, 104 RBI, 68 runs scored, and a .321 OPS of .905.

Rojas blossomed in 2019. In 142 games, he put up a staggering 192 hits, 47 homers, 135 RBI, 116 runs scored, and a .349 OPS of 1.097. He led the league in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, and slugging percentage (0.680) and won four batting titles. Most notably, he became the first switch-hitter to lead the KBO in home runs. Rojas was also named the season MVP.

Rojas then set his sights on Japan. He signed with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball. However, it went downhill from there. In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed his arrival in Japan and he started the season late. He didn’t get a single hit in his first 20 at-bats. He ended his first season with 41 hits in 60 games, eight home runs, 21 RBIs, 18 runs scored, and a .217 OPS of .663.

Mel Rojas Jr./Hanshin Tigers SNS

In 2022, Rojas Jr. struggled in the first half of the season, but he came alive in the second half. He finished with a .224 batting average with 41 hits, nine home runs, 27 RBIs, 19 runs scored, and a .732 OPS in 89 games. However, Hanshin failed to re-sign him and he left Japan.

Rojas then tried to rebound in the Mexican League and the Dominican Winter League, and this season he was back on KT’s radar with a .296 OPS and .977 batting average with 32 hits, five home runs, 14 RBIs, 20 runs scored and 20 runs batted in in 33 games in the Dominican Winter League.

A KT representative said, “Rojas is watching with interest. We are in talks. But it’s not a done deal yet.” “Rojas is doing very well in the Winter League right now. We are checking his physical condition. We’re watching him.”

KT is likely to go without a foreign pitcher next season. Both William Cuevas and Wes Benjamin are expected to re-sign. ”The situation with both players is very positive,” said a KT official.

Benjamin made his first full-time start for KT this season. In 29 appearances, he posted a 15-6 record with a 3.54 ERA in 160 innings pitched and 157 strikeouts. He finished the season second in wins and fourth in strikeouts.

Cuevas pitches during the second game of the Korean Series between the LG Twins and the KT Wiz in the postseason of the 2023 KBO Baseball Playoffs at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on November 8, 2023./My Daily

Cuevas during the game between the LG Twins and the KT Wiz in the second round of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, on Nov. 8, 2023.

In 18 games as Bo Schuler’s replacement, Cuevas went 12-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 114 1/3 innings with 100 strikeouts. He became the first pitcher in the KBO to achieve a 100 percent winning percentage with only starts.

“Cuevas has signed a two-year, $30 million contract with KT,” Rodriguez said.

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