KBO, Triple-A home run king struggles all month long

Things are not going well in the KBO. The NC Dinos’ Jason Martin (28), who led Triple-A in home runs last year (32), has been in an extended slump.

After struggling throughout this year’s exhibition games, Martin seemed to find his groove with a multi-hit, two-RBI performance in the final game of the exhibition season, and heading into the regular season, he hit a much-anticipated home run in Game 2 of the opening series against Samsung, raising expectations for what’s to come. But that was it for Martin in April. After playing just four games in April, he was sidelined with a micro-injury to his adductor muscle.메이저사이트

After about a month of rehabilitation, he returned on 9 May against KT, but he has been slow to adjust to the KBO. After hitting his second home run of the season against Kiwoom on 13 May, he hasn’t hit a home run since. As May comes to a close, Martin hasn’t found his groove. Since returning from injury, his May numbers are just 2-for-14 (59 at-bats) with one home run, seven RBIs, 12 walks, 19 strikeouts, and a .695 OPS. He’s still drawing walks and getting on base, but he’s not hitting for the cycle.

For Martin, the month of May is essentially an acclimatisation period for the KBO, as he didn’t really get a chance to get used to the league in April. Still, it’s unfortunate that the team is competing for the top spot against all odds.

Manager Kang Myung-ho said, “If he could have adapted a little bit in April, he would have been much better in May. He didn’t look bad in the opening series, and I think he would have played as much of a role as we expected him to,” Kang said, reflecting on the late adjustment period following his injury in April.

The analysis also suggests that Martin’s unfamiliarity with the types of pitches thrown by KBO pitchers is confusing him. KBO pitchers tend to throw more forkballs and splitters than changeups in the off-speed pitch family. While the pitches are similar, the drop and variation are clearly different. According to Sports2eye’s Pitch Tracking System (PTS) analysis, Martin is just 1-for-4 with the forkball this year (1-for-7). Just 25 per cent ground balls and 50 per cent fly balls. He hasn’t produced a single line drive. That means he’s not timing his forkballs well enough.

“In the U.S., they almost don’t throw splitters or forkballs because of elbow injury issues, and they throw a lot of circle changeups, and it’s been more than three or four years since they’ve done that. So when Martin suddenly saw a forkball, his movements were different. I don’t think he’s used to it yet.” In fact, Martin was perfect in a three-game series against Lotte (24-26 May) with 12 strikeouts and no walks against a pitching staff that was dominated by forkballs.

Overcoming this adjustment period will eventually lead to success. “I try not to be fooled by the forkballs, but then I’m surprised by the fastballs. It’s a pattern that foreign players go through all the time. How you overcome this is important. If you can overcome this, you can go on to have a long run,” he said, hoping that Martin could do the same.

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