‘Student of the game’ McCarty gets sweeper upgrade…and emerges as league’s best lefty

“He’s a student athlete. Very serious”

When the SSG coaching staff met with new foreign pitcher Kirk McCarty, 28, at a camp in Florida in February, they consistently praised his character as “student-like”. Quiet, thoughtful, and open to learning. As a replacement for Shaun Morimando, who had a strong second half last year, there was pressure to perform, but SSG’s decision to take a chance on McCarty at this point is proving to be the right one.

There were concerns about his relative ‘under-size’, but SSG coach Kim Won-hyung was confident that he had better stuff than Morimando, saying, “Pitchers, whether big or small, just need to throw the ball well.” As of Sept. 19, McCarty is cruising to a 7-4 record with a 2.34 ERA in 18 games and 104 innings pitched. In 13 of those 18 games, he has thrown a quality start (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs), making him a solid starter.

McCarty has a fastball that tops out at 150 mph and a sharp cutter in the low 140s that he throws to lefties and righties alike. He relies heavily on his fastball, which has good command and good cutter angle to induce strikes. The occasional curve and changeup are a nice touch. But McCarty just got a little more advanced. He’s added a new pitch.

McCarty missed the first half of the season with a sore forearm. It wasn’t a major injury, but it was enough to make him nervous because it could lead to a major injury. He needed time to calm his nerves. But McCarty wasn’t just rehabbing during this time. He also worked on his sweeper grip, which has been gaining traction in the major leagues lately.

In fact, McCarty had talked about being able to throw a sweeper earlier in the season. However, the angle was not what we would consider a sweeper. The results weren’t great either. There was a time when he didn’t throw a sweeper for a while and focused more on his slider. He was still performing well, so it might have been normal for him not to explore other pitches. But McCarty is a studious guy, and during his off-season, he dug into his sweeper grip.

When he threw the ball with the new grip instead of the sweeper grip he had been using, he started to create a good angle. He honed it during his rehabilitation and added the sweeper to his repertoire after his return. With a greater lateral angle than a slider, the sweeper forms around 130 km and pairs well with cutters and curves. If you go in thinking only about the cutter, you’re going to have a hard time with the sweeper, which is more of a curve.

However, McCarty has found his groove recently. With the exception of July 26 against Samsung, when he was limited in his pitch count in his return from injury, he’s rebounded in his last four games. In his last four games, he’s allowed just four runs in 26⅔ innings pitched. It’s unfortunate that he hasn’t gotten a win in his last four games despite pitching well.

While his pitch counts have been uneven, he has pitched well for a foreign ace, minimizing his four-pitch arsenal in aggressive games, going at least six innings in all of them, and recording quality starts. Even after throwing more than 100 pitches, he expressed his desire to throw more.

His batting average (.218), walks allowed per nine innings (1.09), and strikeouts per nine innings (2.6) are all stable. As a result, he’s made it back into the regulation innings and is now on pace to challenge for the ERA title. Currently, the league’s top foreign pitcher, Eric Peddy (NC), has a 1.96 ERA. However, McCarty improved his ERA to 2.34 and moved into second place. The distance is not as great as you might think. Among lefties, he’s by far the best. He has the potential to be the best lefty in the league.메이저사이트

He’s gone from a question mark at the start of the season to a pitcher you can count on. Plus, he’s still only 28 years old and has years left in his prime. When SSG signed McCarty, they envisioned a best-case scenario of a relatively young player developing further in the KBO, and he’s on that path. He fits in very well with the players. If the current performance continues, SSG will have something to hang on to.

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