As regular From Complex to Queens listeners know, we’ve decided to start following a KBO team in the absence of Mets baseball for the foreseeable future. We picked a team and will post updates on how they’re doing over in Korea. Why the LG Twins?
- Represent a major metropolitan area.
- Share Seoul (and Jamsil Baseball Stadium) with a rival team and compete for fans.
- Have been a team that, on paper, should compete but just have not been able to put things together over the last few years
- Have a strong pitching staff in 2020.
- LG Corporation spends money on the team but does not always allocate that money wisely.
- Retired the number 41, worn by one of the best right-handed pitchers in team history.
Sounds like the Mets to me!
May 10 (2-4)
LG Twins 10, NC Dinos 8 (BOX)
By far, this comeback win was the most exciting of the Twins season thus far. Of course, it is only their second win, but still. Casey Kelly was signed by the Twins last season to be their ace and he pitched like one, posting a 2.55 ERA in 180.1 innings. The Twins re-signed him for the 2020 season, inking him to a one-year, $900,000 contract- just $100,000 shy of the maximum a foreign player can make- with the expectation that he would once again be their ace. Kelly would have no doubt served as the staff ace if the 2020 season had begun normally, but due to various COVID-19 policies, Kelly was quarantined and had his season debut delayed. When he was finally able to pitch, he was obviously extremely rusty, as the NC Dinos scored six runs off of him in the first. While the Dinos are one of the best offenses in the league, such a performance is atypical of Kelly in Korea, as he only allowed as many runs a single time in 2019. The Twins dug out of the hole slowly, with Roberto Ramos homering in the second, Kang-nam Yoo homering in the fifth, and Eun-sung Chae plating a run in the fifth. Up by four runs, Dinos bullpen imploded in the eighth. Batting around, Ramos, Yoo, Chun-woong Lee, and Hyun-soo Kim drove in seven runs total, giving the Twins a 10-7 lead. The powerful Dinos lineup threatened in the bottom of the ninth, loading up the bases and scoring a run on a sac fly, but closer Woo-seok Ko held fast, shutting the door.
- CF Chun-woong Lee: 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K
- LF Hyun-soo Kim: 2-5, R, RBI, K
- RF Eun-sung Chae: 2-5, R, HR (1), 3 RBI
- 1B Roberto Ramos: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR (1, 2), 2 RBI, BB, K
- C Sung-woo Lee: 0-0
- 3B Min-sung Kim: 1-4, BB, K
- DH Yong-taik Park: 1-5, R, K
- SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-5, R
- C Kang-nam Yoo: 3-4, R, HR (1), 3 RBI
- 1B Yong-yi Kim: 1-1, R
- 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 1-2
- PH Chang-gi Hong: 0-1, K
- 2B Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
- 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 0-0, R, 2 BB
- RHP Casey Kelly: 2.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- RHP Geon-wook Yeo: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Sang-gyu Lee: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- LHP Yun-sik Kim: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, HR
- RHP Woo-young Jung: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, W (1-0)
- LHP Hae-soo Jin: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Woo-seok Ko: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, HBP, S (1)
May 11 (2-4)
NO GAME (SCHEDULE)
May 12 (3-4)
LG Twins 9, SK Wyverns 5 (BOX)
The Wyverns got on the board first, but the Twins came roaring back shortly after giving up the lead, plating three runs in the third and four runs in the fourth. Starter Woo-chan Cha and the bullpen scattered a few more runs, but the Wyverns were unable to get past the commanding lead the Twins built up. Hyun-soo Kim and Roberto Ramos- the usual suspects- were major offensive weapons, as was center fielder Chun-woong Lee, who went 4-5.
- CF Chun-woong Lee: 4-5, 4 R
- LF Hyun-soo Kim: 4-5, R, 3 RBI
- LF Chang-gi Hong: 0-0
- RF Eun-sung Chae: 0-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, K
- 1B Roberto Ramos: 1-3, R, HR (3), 2 RBI, BB
- 3B Min-sung Kim: 1-4, K
- DH Yong-taik Park: 1-4, 2 RBI, 2 K
- 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 0-3
- 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-1, K
- C Kang-nam Yoo: 1-4, R
- SS Ji-hwan Oh: 0-4, 2 K
- LHP Woo-chan Cha: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, HR, W (2-0)
- RHP Geon-wook Yeo: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, HBP
- LHP Hae-soo Jin: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Sang-gyu Lee: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
May 13 (4-4)
LG Twins 14, SK Wyverns 2 (BOX)
The Twins really blew out the Wyverns, returning to .500 for the young season. Eun-sung Chae put the Twins on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI groundout, and then the team really went to work in the second. Batting around, eight runs scored. Interestingly, not a single home run was scored in the inning, and every runner crossed the plate thanks to a combination of hits, walks, errors, and HBPs. As a result, though Wyverns pitcher Ricardo Pinto allowed 8 runs in the inning, only one was earned. Starter Chan-gyu Lim was solid, allowing just a run over six innings in his season debut. The Wyverns are one of the weaker offenses in the league, but Lim looked excellent nonetheless, needing just 94 pitches to go six innings. Relievers Dong-hwan Choi and Eun-beom Song combined to finish the game up allowing just one more run over those final three innings.
- CF Lee Chun-woong Lee: 1-3, 2 R, BB
- CF Hong Chang-gi Hong: 0-0, R, BB
- LF Kim Hyun-soo Kim: 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI
- RF Chae Eun-sung Chae: 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI
- 1B Roberto Ramos: 1-4, 2 R, RBI
- 3B Min-sung Kim: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, BB, K
- SS Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-1, RBI
- DH Yong-taik Park: 1-3, 3 RBI, BB, K
- 3B Yong-yi Kim: 1-1, RBI
- 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 1-3, R
- 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-2, K
- C Kang-nam Yoo: 0-2, R, HBP
- C Jae-wook Park: 0-2, K
- SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-3, R, RBI
- RHP Chan-gyu Lim: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, W (1-0)
- RHP Dong-hwan Choi: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- RHP Eun-beom Song: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
May 14 (5-4)
LG Twins 3, SK Wyverns 2 (BOX)
The Wyverns got on the board first, a solo shot from Jamie Romak off of Tyler Wilson in the top of the second, but the Twins quickly got that run back and then took the lead. In the bottom of the third, Ju-hyeon Jung swatted a solo shot of his own and a few batters later, Eun-sung Chae drove in Chun-woong Lee from second with a single into left. Of note, Jung’s bat flip was so profound that the bat landed down the third base line and he scooped it up as he rounded third and trotted home. The lead unfortunately wouldn’t last too long, as the David Wright of Korea, Jeong Choi, scored on an infield hit that was initially ruled and out but overruled on a video replay in the fourth. The game stayed tied in a deadlock until the bottom of the ninth, when Ji-hwan Oh led off the inning with a single and then advanced to second on an error. After pinch hitter Sung-woo Lee bunted him over to third, he came around to score when pinch hitter Keun-woo Jeong hit one into the right-center field gap, walking the game off. With the win, the Twins have a four game winning streak and swept the Wyverns for the first time in 18 years.
- CF Chun-woong Lee: 2-4, R, K
- LF Hyun-soo Kim: 0-2, 2 BB
- RF Eun-sung Chae: 1-4, RBI, 2 K
- 1B Roberto Ramos: 2-4, K
- 1B Yong-yi Kim: 0-0
- 3B Min-sung Kim: 2-4, K
- DH Yong-taik Park: 1-4, 2 K
- SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-4, R, 2 K
- C Kang-nam Yoo: 0-3, K
- PH Sung-woo Lee: 0-0
- 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 1-2, R, HR (1), BB, K
- PH Keun-woo Jeong: 1-1, RBI
- RHP Tyler Wilson: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, HR
- RHP Woo-young Jung: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- LHP Hae-soo Jin: 0.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
- RHP Sang-gyu Lee: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, W (1-0)
May 15 (5-4)
May 16 (6-4)
LG Twins 3, Kiwoom Heroes 1 (BOX)
Casey Kelly threw a stinker his last time on the mound, attributed to the length of time it had been since the last time he was able to pitch competitively due to quarantining himself. He was much better this time, showcasing why the Twins are paying him one of the highest salaries in the league. The right-hander scattered three hits over six innings, blanking Kiwoom. The Twins got on the board in the fifth when team captain Yong-taik Park drove in a run. Ju-hyeon Jung and Seung-hyun Baek both added runs in the sixth, and the insurance would come in handy as Kiwoom rally in the ninth broke the shutout and net them a run.
- CF Chun-woong Lee: 0-4
- LF Hyun-soo Kim: 1-4, R
- LF Chang-gi Hong: 0-0
- RF Eun-sung Chae: 0-4, 2 K
- 1B Roberto Ramos: 0-1, 2 R, 2 BB, K
- 3B Min-sung Kim: 0-0, BB
- 3B Seung-hyun Baek: 1-1, RBI
- DH Yong-taik Park: 1-3, RBI
- SS Ji-hwan Oh: 0-2, K, HBP
- SS Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
- C Kang-nam Yoo: 0-3, K
- 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 1-3, R, HR (2), RBI
- RHP Casey Kelly: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (1-1)
- RHP Sang-gyu Lee: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- LHP Hae-soo Jin: 0.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Woo-young Jung: 1.3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, S (1)
HITTER OF THE WEEK
6-16, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, 0/0 SB
Originally born and raised in Sonora, Mexico, Ramos moved to the United States in his teens, enrolling at and graduating from San Fernando High School in San Fernando, California in 2013. Though he had an excellent season there as a senior, hitting .429 with 11 home runs, he went undrafted int eh 2013 MLB Draft. A such, he enrolled College of the Canyons, a junior college in Santa Clarita, California. Appearing in 37 games for head coach Chris Cota’s Cougars, he hit .317 /.411 /.511 with 7 home runs. Eligible for selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, the Colorado Rockies drafted him with their 16th round pick, the 473rd player selected in the draft overall.
He signed with Colorado and made his professional debut with the Tri-City Dust Devils, their Low-A Affiliate in the Northwest League. After struggling for roughly a month, hitting .208/.269/.354, he went sent to the Rockies’ Rookie-level affiliate, the Grand Junction Rockies, where he hit .208/.293/.292. Due to injury and inability, he moved up the minor league slowly, getting into a full season’s worth of games in 2017, when he hit .297/.351/.444 in 122 games for the Lancaster JetHawks, Colorado’s High-A affiliate in the California League. He began the 2018 season with Lancaster once again and hit .304/.411/.640 with 17 home runs in 60 games, being named a California League All-Star and winning the California League Home Run Derby. He was promoted to the Hartford Yard Goats that June and hit .231/.320/.503 with 15 home runs in 61 games there. In 2019, he was promoted to the Albuquerque Isotopes and hit .309/.400/.580 in 127 games, slugging 30 home runs, tied for sixth in the offensive-friendly league. The Rockies sent him to the Arizona Fall League at the conclusion of the season, where is numbers were less than spectacular, and then sold his contract to the LG Twins in January, where the 25-year-old has so far thrived.
Ramos is a big guy, standing 6’3” and weighing 220 pounds. When he swings, he puts his full effort into it, looking to drive anything he connects with. He has legitimate plus power thanks to the swing and his own natural strength, but the lofty swing combined with poor pitch recognition results in a lot of swing-and-misses. Pitchers in Korea rely more on breaking pitches than fastballs, so it will be interesting if they eventually note Ramos’ weakness at picking up on spin and begin to exploit it.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
The son of Pat Kelly, a long-time coach in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system, Casey was a standout baseball and football player at Sarasota High School in Sarasota, Florida. Committed to the University of Tennessee, where he would play quarterback and shortstop, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft, 30th overall. After signing for a $3 million bonus, he fared poorly in his first season and began transitioning into a pitcher, first playing both ways in 2009 and then only pitching in 2010. He took to the transition with aplomb, shooting up both the Red Sox prospect lists, and national prospect lists. In 2009, he posted a 2.08 ERA in 95.0 innings combined with the Greenville Drive and Salem Red Sox. He hit a bump in 2010, posting a 5.31 ERA in 95.0 innings for the Portland Sea Dogs, but this is excusable for a 20-year-old in Double-A. Considered one of, if not the top prospect in the Red Sox system, he was traded that winter along with Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes, and Eric Patterson to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez.
Still one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, his future seemed bright. He had a respectable season in 2013, spending most of his season in Double-A, and made his Major League debut, pitching a few times through the rotation for the Padres. In 2013, he began experiencing injures that set back his career time and time again. A strained elbow limited him to just 37.2 innings in 2013, and the following spring training, he tore his UCL, requiring Tommy John surgery. He returned at the end of the 2014 and threw limited innings and was transitioned into relief in 2015. That winter, he and Ricardo Rodriguez to the Atlanta Braves for Christian Bethancourt. He finished the season in their system and bounced around the majors for the next few years before signing with the LG Twins in November 2018. Acquired to be their ace, he posted a 2.55 ERA in 180.1 innings, leading to them re-signing him for the 2020 season.
At his best, Kelly sat in the low-90s and could dial his fastball up to 96 MPH. Since Tommy John surgery and his struggles since, the pitch has loost its oomph, sitting in the high-80s-to-low-90s, though it has some sink to it. He complements the sinker with a curveball, slider, and changeup. Scouts in Korea noted that while the stuff has not necessarily improved since his later days in minor league baseball, his confidence has, and believing in himself and his pitches has been the reason for his success.
HITTER OF THE WEEK
May 3 to May 9: Hyun-soo Kim (6-17, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/0 SB)
May 10 to May 16: Roberto Ramos (6-16, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, 0/0 SB)
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
May 3 to May 9: Woo-chan Cha (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, HR)
May 10 to May 16: Casey Kelly (6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)