“He’s better than Rojas.”

During an exhibition game in the 2022 season, KT Wiz manager Lee Kang-cheol had high praise for the team’s new foreign hitter, Henry Ramos. “I think his contact ability is as good as I thought,” Lee said at the time, adding, “He’s better than Rojas. We’ll have to wait and see, but I like Ramos’ stats,” Lee said at the time. Rojas was a specialty hitter in 2020, batting .344 with 47 home runs and 135 RBIs to win the regular season MVP. After winning the MVP award, Rojas left the KBO to sign a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball.

The Tigers won the 2021 season, but their foreign-born hitters, including Joilo Almonte and Jared Hoying, were disappointing. Ramos did not disappoint. First, in the 2022 season’s exhibition games, Ramos batted .308 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 12 games (31-for-12). In the regular season, he had to readjust to the opposition. He wasn’t as explosive as he was in the tournament, batting just 25-for-72 with three home runs, 11 RBIs and a .721 OPS, but he was slowly getting his feel for the game. On April 22, he hit the game-winning two-run shot against the Suwon NC.

However, an untimely injury ended Ramos’ ‘Korean Dream’.

On April 23, he was hit on the right toe by a pitch from NC starter Song Myung-ki in the Suwon NC game. He played the rest of the game, but as the pain intensified, he underwent a medical examination and was diagnosed with a ‘right 5th toe stun bone fracture’. The injury was expected to take four to six weeks to heal, but KT was struggling with a number of injuries at the time and needed immediate production, so they had no choice but to release Ramos.

Ramos recovered from the injury and found his form. This year, he signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds and was called up to the major leagues. In 23 games, he batted 2-for-4 with 18 RBI in 74 at-bats and an OPS of .660. 온라인카지노 Most importantly, he consistently proved himself in the minors. In 76 games with Cincinnati’s Triple-A Louisville Bats, he batted .301 (89-for-280) with 13 home runs, 74 RBIs, and a .954 OPS. His power production was among the best in Triple-A, and he also had a decent plate discipline with 41 walks and 65 strikeouts. His on-base percentage (.411) and slugging percentage (.411) were nearly a full percentage point higher.

Ramos has wanted to play in the KBO since his days with KT.

“I knew about Korean baseball before,” he said during spring training in 2022. I was hoping for the opportunity to play in Korea three years ago. I wanted to go to Korea, so it wasn’t a big decision. It was an easy decision,” he said, revealing his desire to play in the KBO.

And Ramos didn’t turn down a KBO team’s offer. Doosan, which was looking for a foreign hitter, had its eye on Ramos. Doosan signed Ramos for a total of $700,000 ($50,000 signing bonus, $550,000 salary, $100,000 incentive).

In fact, Doosan went with a foreign hitter this year in Jose Rojas. In 122 games, he batted .253 (102-for-403) with 19 home runs, 65 RBIs, and an OPS of .819. He was able to produce nearly 20 home runs despite playing in the large Jamsil Stadium. With the recent decline in ball rebound, it’s rare to find a player with this much power.

Rojas had his ups and downs. By June, he was hitting the occasional home run but not making an impact. Mentally, he was struggling, and the team was looking to replace him. However, they brought in second-team hitting coach Lee Young-soo to work with Rojas exclusively, and things improved. Through June, Rojas was batting just 2-for-5 (176-for-36) with 10 homers, 27 RBIs and a .701 OPS, but in July, he rebounded to go 2-for-9 (277-for-66) with nine homers, 38 RBIs and a .907 OPS.

Still, there wasn’t much to like about Rojas:

He had the power to hit 19 homers in the spacious Jamsil Stadium, but he lacked the defense to cover Jamsil’s wide-open outfield. In fact, he was a failing grade.

For now, Doosan reviewed the season and placed Rojas on the disabled list as they began to think about foreign players for the 2024 season. There wasn’t much satisfaction internally, but the foreign player market wasn’t too good. They even envisioned that they could re-sign him if there was room.

However, there was a player on the market with “MVP-level acclaim” in Ramos, and Doosan chose Ramos over Rojas. Manager Lee Seung-yeop, who wanted an outfielder who could play defense while enhancing the production of the batting lineup, also reportedly evaluated Ramos positively.

Doosan said, “We were looking for an outfielder with defensive capabilities due to the wide outfield of Jamsil Stadium. Ramos is evaluated as having MLB average defense and strong shoulders,” explaining, “He has a short bat from the plate to the ball and has the strength of being a spray heater with an inside-out swing.”

Ramos, who was hailed as an MVP-caliber player by manager Lee Kang-cheol of the Steel Magic and wanted by manager Lee Seung-yup, will be an upgrade to the Doosan lineup.

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