Auckland, well known as the origin of the word ‘Moneyball’, has created numerous success stories so far by scouting to maximize the effect while saving the amount of investment. In a situation where the club does not have much money, it is inevitable that the club organization is optimized for this area.
Oakland, like that, had the task of building a starting rotation ahead of this season. This is because there were not enough pitchers to throw in a situation where all the players who had led the team rotation were sold out through trade. In this process, Oakland paid attention to the Eastern League rather than the major league transfer market, which rose as ransom prices rose. It was the Nippon Professional Baseball and KBO League.
It has been well demonstrated in several cases that if you select the players of this stage well, you can extract performance beyond price. Miles Michaelas (St. Louis) and Merrill Kelly (Arizona) are representative. The two players played in Japan and Korea, were scouted by major league clubs at a relatively low price, and are examples of outstanding performances and hitting the jackpot.
Players caught on Auckland’s radar were Shintaro Fujinami (29) of Hanshin, Nippon Professional Baseball, and Drew Luchinski (35) of KBO League NC. Auckland virtually completed the reinforcement of the starting rotation by signing a contract with Fujinami for 3.25 million dollars (approximately 4.3 billion won) for a year and Luchinski for a total of up to 8 million dollars (approximately 10.6 billion won) for 1 + 1 years, respectively.
Fujinami drew a lot of attention as a rival of Shohei Otani (LA Angels) in high school. Her talent was exceptional, but it was her case that she couldn’t grow properly as a professional in the aftermath of overwork when she was in high school. However, her charm was obvious that she could throw a fast ball in the mid and late 150 km/h range. Oakland bet on this possibility.
After playing in the major leagues, Luchinski signed with NC in 2019 and played in the KBO league for four years. He appeared in 121 games in the KBO League and he was the league ace with a record of 53 wins and 36 losses with a 3.06 earned run average. He also had experience playing in 41 games in the major leagues. Oakland hoped that the two players would each take a spot in the starting rotation and endure for a season, if not until they hit the jackpot. But the unexpected is happening in Auckland. Even if you can’t do it, you can’t do it too much.먹튀검증
▲ Fujinami has a fast ball with a four-seam average of 156 km, but is struggling with chronic control.
▲ Luczynski’s four-seam velocity has dropped by 3-4 km compared to the previous year, raising suspicion.
Fujinami is staying at 1-5 with an ERA of 12.62 in 13 games (4 starts) this season. He entered the opening rotation with high expectations, but after exposing only uneasy pitches, he eventually gave up the starting position and is playing in the bullpen. However, there was no way the water leaked from the bullpen in the starter and stopped it. Even after he moved to the bullpen, his slump continues.
Luchinski, who started the season late due to injury, also has 4 losses and an average ERA of 9.00 without a win in 4 games of the season. At this rate, like Fujinami, he is in danger of being pushed to the bullpen. The two players are recording an average ERA of 11.13 in 43⅔ innings this season. This is the flow that leads to the miserable failure of Moneyball.
As expected, Fujinami is fast on the ball. His fastball average velocity was 97.1 miles (156.3 km), one of the fastest in the major leagues. However, the control and command are not working at all. The jagged ups and downs every inning are severe. On top of that, he’s giving up 23 walks in 25⅔ innings, so he’s not even managing runners. Fujinami’s WHIP per inning is a whopping 2.14. It is impossible to write in a tense situation.
Luchinski’s problem is on the opposite side. Position is a problem. Luchinski was still a player who threw the ball in the middle and late 140km range in the KBO League. However, in the major leagues, his speed was strangely lowered. His four-seam fastball average speed this year is only 89 miles (about 143.2 km). It is not an easy restraint to endure in the major leagues. Here, he can’t hold on as he is battered to the slider. Luchinski’s four-seam batting average is 0.294, and his slider is 0.375, which is not good.
At this rate, the two players may not even be able to complete their relationship with Auckland for a year. Fujinami is already being mentioned as a target for release. The logic is that it is better to use young players in the minor leagues. Luczynski’s contract next year is also an option in Auckland. There is no club that will exercise an option on a player who achieves this level of performance. Does Moneyball not work in the Eastern League?