The St. Louis Cardinals have been the talk of the baseball world this past week due to their COVID-19 outbreak. Thirteen people within the organization have tested positive for the virus. The Cardinals did announce that among the positive tests were players Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong, Edmundo Sosa, Rangel Ravelo, Junior Fernandez, and Kodi Whitley. With a significant part of the roster down for the count, the Cardinals had to make some shifts.
Utilizing Kwang-Hyun Kim
Kwang-Hyun Kim is a new face in St. Louis coming all the way from Korea. Last December, the Cardinals signed this left-handed pitcher to a two year, $8 million dollar deal. Manager Mike Shildt announced that Kim would be filling Carlos Martinez’s spot in the rotation. Martinez found his way onto the injured list this past Tuesday. There has been no reason made public as to why he is on the IL.
Kim started the season in the bullpen. The Cardinals have had their fair share of injuries, specifically in the pitching department, and it only made sense to the staff to place Kim in the bullpen at the start of the season. This lefty has made one appearance so far in his relief position. He recorded one save while pitching one inning and allowing two runs (one earned) off of two hits.
Time Spent in the KBO
At the beginning of the season, Kwang-Hyun Kim fell short of a spot in the rotation despite his strong history as a starter. Kim spent 12 seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization and started 276 games. He is no stranger to getting the first pitch on the mound. Not only is a spot in the starting rotation what Kim is used to, but he has also proved himself worthy of it time and time again. He went 17-6 across his 30 starts in the 2019 season. He recorded a 2.51 ERA and a career-best of 4.74 K/BB. The 2019 season was not an outlier for Kim’s performance; he has consistently been a successful starting pitcher since his first season in Korea.
Kim’s Pitching Skills
Unfortunately, Cardinals games keep getting postponed so it is unknown as to when Kim will make his first start as a Cardinal. As Kim is now tentatively part of the rotation, he is also the only lefty among the five starters. A left-handed starter is not common for the organization. Last year Genesis Cabrera was the only lefty to start a game, and he only started two games. So, there is no doubt that when Kim is allowed to pitch, he will bring something new to the table.
The types of pitches most heavily relied on for this Korean native are a fastball, slider, and curveball. His fastball is by no means the fastest in the game, but he does consistently hit the low 90s. Kim houses a very daunting slider that he has very good control over. This pitch is thrown in a wider range from 82mph-88mph. The curveball utilized by Kim definitely gets the bats swinging since it is a slower pitch, clocked in the mid-70s. Kwang-Hyun Kim has spent seasons improving his arm, and Cardinal Nation is ready to see it.
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