The NC Dinos surprised nine clubs by signing a foreign “one-two punch” before this season. The reason is that they succeeded in signing players who can be called ‘active major leaguers’.
First up was Eric Peddy. Peddy was drafted by the Washington Nationals with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. Peddy made his first big league start in 2017 and showed promise in 2018, going 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 11 games (11 starts).
In 2019, Peddie saw more and more action, splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, before going “full-time” in 2021. Peddy went 7-9 with a 5.47 ERA in 29 games (27 starts) in 2021 and 6-13 with a 5.81 ERA in 27 games (27 starts) in 2022, giving him a record of 21-33 with a 5.17 ERA in 102 games (88 starts) over six major league seasons.
While his numbers weren’t overwhelmingly good, he had the stuff to make a major league career, including two straight years as a full-time starter, but he didn’t stick with the Nats. That’s because he was released by the Nats as a “non-tender” after the season. At this point, NC made a quick move. After a week of deliberation between staying in the U.S. and moving to NC, Pedi decided to play in the KBO.
After six seasons in the major leagues and two years in the starting rotation, Peddie’s performance was expected. In April, Pedi was dominant with a 4-1 record and a 0.47 ERA in six starts, competing with Na Kyun-ahn (Lotte Giants) for the monthly MVP award, and he continued his good form in May with a 3-0 record and a 4.15 ERA in three starts.
The second “active major leaguer” was Taylor Widener, whom NC acquired ahead of the start of spring training. Widener was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft and made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018, splitting time between the mound and bullpen over the course of three seasons, compiling a 2-3 record with a 4.26 ERA in 49 games (13 starts).
Widener only pitched out of the bullpen in 2022, the year before he donned an NC uniform, but he had shown enough power to be called Arizona’s “ace” before an injury sidelined him early in the 2021 season. However, his start in the NC did not go well. He suffered a back injury before the opening game. But Widener’s arrival was imminent.
Widener made his first start against the Goyang Heroes on the 18th, throwing three innings of one-hit ball with three walks and six strikeouts. He followed that up with six innings of one-hit ball with two walks and three strikeouts against the Samsung Lions’ second team on the 23rd. He topped out at 148 kilometers per hour, mixing in a slider and changeup.스포츠토토
“Widener is scheduled to return this Sunday (Aug. 28) as planned,” manager Kang Myung-ho said before the Busan Lotte Giants game, and when asked about his pitching in the second game, he said, “I saw it on the broadcast, but it was much more stable than his last outing.”
“The way he was throwing, trying different things, including his changeup and slider, I think he’ll be able to show what he’s capable of when he gets to the big leagues,” the manager said. “He doesn’t have a lot of pitches, but he’s the type of guy who can overpower hitters with his pitches, especially his strikeout ability. He’s definitely got his stuff, so I think he’ll do a good job.”
NC is currently without their ‘homegrown ace’ Koo Chang-mo. Due to nagging injuries, Koo has never played a full season, and the team has given him a break to ensure he stays in the first team for as long as possible. The jury is still out on Widener, but if he can replicate his big league performance in the KBO, NC’s starting lineup could be one of the best one-two-three punchers in the league.