Left-handed pitcher Ricardo Sanchez, 26, who joined Hanwha as an alternate foreign player in April, arrived with his family. His wife and 19-month-old daughter joined him on the flight to Korea. Usually, foreign players who arrive in Korea for the first time do so alone, but Sanchez’s arrival with his family was different from the start.
“I’m not just here to gain experience,” he said during a meeting with the team, “I’m not here for one year and then going home. I want to play baseball in Korea for as long as I can, which could be two or three years,” he said, showing his commitment to the Korean Dream.스포츠토토
Sanchez’s major league career lasted three games (5⅓ innings) for the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season. For Sanchez, who bounced around the minor leagues without ever seeing the light of day in the United States, Korea was a land of opportunity. Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said, “He’s young, so he must have some ambition. He may have a plan after this. I think he’ll be fine in that sense,” he said, adding that he expected Sanchez’s motivation to succeed.
At the time of his signing, Sanchez was dismissed as a “tinkerer” who was hastily acquired by Hanwha to fill the void left by Butch Smith, who was released after 60 pitches in the opening game, but once the lid was lifted, he was an ace. Against LG in Daejeon on April 10, he pitched eight innings of two-hit ball with two walks and eight strikeouts, his best outing since making his KBO debut. His 112-pitch fastball reached 151 kilometers before he struck out the last batter, Kim Min-sung, in the eighth inning. Sanchez dominated the LG bats, which boast the league’s highest firepower, and led Hanwha to a 7-0 victory.
Up until this point, Hanwha had won all six of Sanchez’s starts. A 100 percent winning percentage. With his third win, Sanchez lowered his ERA to 1.39. In 32 1/3 innings, he struck out 28 and walked just six. He has a 0.84 WHIP and a 1.18 K/9 ratio, and his fastball tops out at 153 mph and averages 148 mph. He has a command that consistently targets the body of lefties, a backdoor slider for righties, and a changeup that takes away timing with a curve.
After the game, Sanchez said, “I threw over 110 pitches for the first time in my career. “I didn’t think about pitching in the ninth inning because I didn’t want to get emotional and overpace, which can be bad for the team,” he said. “I didn’t know how many pitches I had until the seventh inning, and I knew I had to go as long as I could. I kept fouling off the last batter in the eighth, so I looked back at the scoreboard and checked my pitch count.”
As for the team’s six-game sweep on his day, Sanchez said, “It feels great. This is why Hanwha brought me here. I want to have a positive impact on the team every time I pitch,” he emphasized.
He continued, “I think today was the best pitch of my career. It’s the first time I’ve thrown more than 110 pitches, and I’ve never thrown eight scoreless innings. I feel like Korea is giving me a lot of gifts,” he laughed, adding, “My wife, who came with our 19-month-old daughter, is also happy with our life in Korea. She’s happy that I’m helping the team,” he said proudly.
Every time Sanchez pitches, his wife brings their daughter to the ballpark to cheer him on. So far, he’s pitched all six games at home against Daejeon, and he’s always happy to see his family after a win. “Daddy” Sanchez, who pushes his own stroller to work, makes Han Hwa smile with his “formula buff. / Photo.