KIA Tigers has another “active big leaguer.” The main character is James Nail.
KIA signed a contract with James Naile (born 1993), a foreign pitcher, for a down payment of 200,000 U.S. dollars, an annual salary of 350,000 dollars, and an option of 150,000 dollars. The total amount including the transfer fee of 250,000 dollars is 950,000 dollars.
Nail, a right-hander who is 193 centimeters tall and weighs 83 kilograms, is from Cape Darda, Missouri, the U.S., and joined the Oakland Athletics as the 608th overall pick in the 20th round in 2015 and played in the major league and minor leagues for two and six seasons, respectively.
Nail pitched in a total of 245 games (96 starts) in the Minor League, recording 49 wins and 37 losses with an ERA of 4.01 in 742 ⅓. In terms of Triple-A (six seasons), Nail played in 155 games (35 starts) and 357 ⅔ innings with 27 wins and 17 losses with an ERA of 4.15. Nail, who spent most of his time in the Minor League last year, recorded five wins and three losses with an ERA of 3.66 in 59 innings in 31 Triple-A games (three starts).
Nail also played in the big leagues in 2022 and last year. In 2022, his first year in the big league, he posted an ERA of 5.00 in seven games and nine innings, and finished the season with an ERA of 8.80 in 15 ⅓ in 10 games in 2023. He has never started a game in both seasons.헤라카지노
“Nail is one of the players who continued to be on the candidate list, and as the players our team was looking for are signing contracts with major league teams, the joining of the spring camp (of the new foreign pitcher) will be delayed and the grass will get smaller, so we talked about the buyout and recruited him to St. Louis Cardinals,” KIA general manager Shim Jae-hak said in a phone call with X-Sports News.
“Some of our team’s scouting team contacted St. Louis and asked Matt Slater, who served as a general manager’s assistant,” he said, adding, “Thankfully, I had a good business relationship with St. Louis, and I signed with Nail when I allowed the player to come to the KBO League.”
It was impossible for KIA team to know that Nail had more experience in the bullpen than the starting pitcher. However, Shim Jae-hak, the general manager, said, “I mainly played in the bullpen, but the inning was not that small. I also held a meeting with the pitching coaches while watching videos and materials related to Nail, and the coaches said that with this kind of mechanism, there would be no big problem in playing innings and distributing physical strength.”
“Nail was a pitcher close to two-pitch (two-seam, curve) type when he ran into the bullpen, but looking at the distribution of pitches, he can throw four pitches, including change-up and cut fastball, in addition to two-seam curves,” Shim said. “He is also a pitcher who has the advantage of inducing grounders, and he considered this part in recruiting because he has a very good vertical movement.”
Another positive factor was that he had no physical condition. “Nail had no major injury after joining the professional league, so he didn’t find any major abnormalities in medical tests, and he won’t have any injury problems,” Shim Jae-hak said. “Since he played with a bullpen a lot of games, he discussed with the field and the data team about his physical strength and found that this would not be a big problem. I ended up signing a contract without feeling anxious.”
Will Crowe, who was previously recruited by KIA, was also an active big leaguer, but there is clearly a difference in the pitching style of Crowe and Nail. “If Crowe is a pitcher who throws four-seam and literally is a pitcher with a fast ball, he can say that Nail can suppress walks because he has good vertical movements using two-seam,” head Shim explained.
There have been quite a few pitchers who have shown effective pitching by inducing grounders in the past. Pitchers such as Eric Jokish (former Kiwoom Heroes), Tyler Wilson (former LG Twins), and David Buchanan (former Samsung Lions) were good examples.
Shim Jae-hak, the general manager of the team, said, “If you look at the number of pitchers such as Yokis and Wilson in the KBO league, most of them recorded more than 45%, but in the case of nails, it showed a 53% groundball rate based on Triple A last year. Simple comparison is a little difficult, but still, making more than 50% of the figure in Triple A means that they have enough ability to suppress hits.”
This winter, when it was especially difficult to find a good foreign pitcher, KIA focused more on recruiting foreign pitchers than ever before. “Honestly, we won’t know until the season opens, but I think we did our best within the current framework. I think we did our best even if the results haven’t come out yet because we were able to bring in a player who was on the 40-man roster,” Shim said. “I think it was right to approach carefully rather than recruiting well. We also tried our best to recruit scouts, data teams, and data teams exclusively for foreign players, and this should come out as a result.”
He did not set specific expectations for the two players. Still, Shim Jae-hak believes that he hopes to set a target of at least 10 wins for both Crow and Nail. “Who will be the first starting pitcher is a matter to be determined on the spot, but I hope he can win more than 10 games,” Shim said. “I think he is bringing in foreign players hoping for good performance.”
Meanwhile, Nail said on his official social networking service (SNS), “Hello, I’m James Nail. I’m happy to join the team. I’ll contribute to bringing the trophy to Gwangju. I’m looking forward to meeting the fans soon and the 2024 season.”