Will the NC, which has taken off the car, shake off the undervaluation of the ‘last-place candidate’?

10 KBO League teams have entered spring camp, which is held overseas for the first time since the Corona 19 pandemic. As the composition of players for each team, including the FA, is virtually complete, the prospects for the 2023 season are being made. 

Experts’ forecasts are based on last year’s rankings and whether or not to reinforce power throughout the winter. For example, if last year’s bottom-ranking team succeeded in recruiting an external free agent, there is a good chance of rising in the rankings. Last year, the eighth-ranked Lotte Giants and the tenth-ranked Hanwha Eagles are raising expectations that they will be able to escape from the lower ranks by reinforcing three external FA players each.

However, if a team that failed to advance to baseball last fall and left its core power throughout the winter, the prospects for this year could never be bright. This is the story of NC Dinos. NC, which failed to advance to the postseason in 6th place in 2022, could not prevent the departure of internal free agents Yang Eui-ji and Noh Jin-hyuk. Yang Eui-ji moved to Doosan Bears for a total of 15.2 billion won in 6 years of free agency, and Roh Jin-hyuk moved to NC’s local rival Lotte Giants for 5 billion won in 4 years of free agency. 

Yang Eui-ji obtained FA status after the end of the 2018 season and signed a contract with NC for a total of 12.5 billion won over 4 years and worked for 4 years. Noh Jin-hyeok is a founding member who entered the professional league after being nominated by NC in 2012. Thanks to the performance of Yang Eui-ji and Noh Jin-hyuk, NC won the first integrated championship in 2020.

After the end of last season, the reality that it would be impossible for NC, where as many as 7 players obtained free agent qualifications, to retain all of its internal free agents, raised its head. However, it was rare for anyone to make a pessimistic observation that starting catcher Eui-ji Yang and starting shortstop Jin-hyeok Noh, who are the core of the center line, would leave NC all at once. The club’s financial power is because NC has been evaluated as being second to none of the KBO league teams. Therefore, the power loss of NC is more painful.

It’s not like NC was just folding their arms. When Yang Eui-ji moved to Doosan, he recruited catcher Park Se-hyeok from Doosan, who was the first to obtain FA qualification, for a total of 4.6 billion won over four years. Compared to Yang Eui-ji, born in 1987, Park Se-hyeok in 1990 has the advantage of being three years younger.  스포츠토토

However, the WAR (based on the KB Report), which indicates the contribution to victory compared to last year’s substitute player, was 4.87 for Yang Eui-ji and 1.21 for Park Se-hyeok, four times higher than Yang Eui-ji than Park Se-hyuk. Park Se-hyeok had the smallest contract among the four catchers who came to the free agent market and all of them ended up being transferred. This is the reason why the cold evaluation that Park Se-hyeok will not be able to fill the gap of Yang Eui-ji, the league’s best offensive player and catcher, is strengthened.

Some are raising concerns that NC may fall to the bottom. All three foreign players were changed as even ace Luchinski, who had won 53 wins in four years until last year, left.

It is a story that there are too many anxiety factors in NC, from the weakening of the center line to foreign players who have not been verified at all in the KBO league. Last year, I had a ‘rehearsal’ as an acting manager, but I have to watch the operation of director Kang In-kwon, who is in his first season as an official command tower.

Teams classified as ‘weak’ at the beginning of the season after the opening are captured as targets for intensive attack to build up the number of wins of other teams, and are forced to take a very difficult step. Attention is focusing on whether NC, whose pitching power has clearly weakened, will be able to overturn the evaluation of being a ‘last-place candidate’ and regain the appearance of a strong team.

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