Eric Thames, 37, who played in an NC uniform from 2014 to 2016, was a historic foreign hitter who took the KBO by storm. In 390 games over three years, he batted .349 with 124 home runs and 382 RBIs. In 2015, he broke into the historic 40-40 club.
Thames played in the major leagues from 2011 to 2012. However, he wasn’t successful. In a way, he was a player whose skills were judged in the major leagues, but in a negative way. “It doesn’t work” was the report. However, after his success in the KBO, those reports began to change.
Unlike in the major leagues, he played consistently, which gave him the opportunity to work on his weaknesses and prove that he was ready for the major league challenge. Eventually, Milwaukee took notice and offered him a three-year contract, which led to an emotional return to the major leagues.
Up until that point, a move to the KBO meant the end of his major league career. It was often the destination of choice for players who no longer had a team calling their name in the majors. Rarely did they go back and play well. But Thames was different. His success in Milwaukee coined the phrase “reverse export” and helped raise the profile of the KBO.
His first season was especially spectacular. He led the league in home runs. Thames’ incredible performance led to more doping tests than any other player. Although his batting average dropped off a bit down the stretch, Thames had a breakout year in 2017, hitting .247 with 31 home runs, 83 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.877 in 138 games. His adjusted run production was 25 percent better than the league average.
His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was 2.3, according to FanGraphs. That’s worth more than $16 million. Themes wrapped up a successful three-year contract with a WAR of 0.5 in 2018 and 2.6 in 2019. He is still remembered as one of the best foreign players in KBO history.
However, there was another player who shattered the “reverse export myth” of Temes. Merrill Kelly (35, Arizona), who played for SK for four years from 2015 to 2018 and then reached the major leagues. Since returning to the major leagues, he has surpassed Themes’ cumulative WAR (4.8).
Before coming to SK, Kelly hadn’t played a single major league game. He couldn’t find a place in Tampa Bay’s then-thick pitching farm. But with SK, he began to find his groove, throwing a lot of strikes and showing consistent innings as a starter, which attracted interest from major league clubs. In 2019, he signed a 2+2 year deal with Arizona.메이저사이트
Kelly also started out as Arizona’s fifth starter, but his steady performance earned him a late-inning role, and he has since signed one extension. With 13 wins in 2019 and 13 wins last year, Kelly is now considered Arizona’s No. 2 starter. His WAR was 1.9 in 2019, 2.3 in 2021, and 3.3 last year. He broke the Tames’ single-season record for most WAR by a foreign player in the KBO. His four-year WAR total of 8.1 is also higher than Temes’.
This year, he’s on pace to surpass his career-best season with a solid 5-3 record and 2.98 ERA in his first 10 games, throwing 57⅓ innings. He’s already accumulated 1.2 WAR. Kelly signed a two-year, $18 million deal, with a team option for 2025, so he could play up to three more years in the majors. It’ll be interesting to see how many more WARs he can rack up and finish off the reverse export myth.