“God, Buddha, Daniel Rios”

October 12th, 2007 · Foreigners, Sports · 7 comments

Update: Rios has been awarded the MVP and Golden Glove trophies.

The Sports Chosun takes a look at what it is that makes Daniel Rios the top pitcher in Korea, with a headline comparing him to a couple of major deities. And as you can see from the chart below they also go into somewhat disturbing detail about the dimensions of his various body parts.

Rios’ greatest weapon is the four-seam fastball. His top speed closes in on a blistering 150 kilometers per hour. His initial and final velocities are not very different.

If you look at his pitching form you cannot quickly understand. Rios doesn’t really use his lower body or back much, and appears to pitch by yanking himself around by the legs. He throws the ball easily, with a minimum of movement.

He is similar to former LG Twin Kim Yong-su and the smiling Lee Sang-gun. When Doosan pitching coach Yun Seok-hwan asked Rios about the “false form” he uses when pitching, Rios replied “I just do it.” “A power position is naturally good. I was just born with it.”

He became the first 20-game winner in 8 years by pounding right-handers outside. He uses a slider grip. He sometimes encounters umpires stingy about the outside part of the plate and fights hard but, in any case, his ratio of pitching outside to inside is 7 to 3. But he is always careful when pitching inside. When pitching inside he uses his sinker. His sinker attacks the weakness of right-handed batters by breaking towards them. He doesn’t throw many changeups but his control from left to right is enough.

His strength lies in his technique but he is mentally tough as well. Jo Seong-il, head of PR at Doosan and once the interpreter for the greatest foreign player in Korea, Tyrone Woods, explains everything in one sentence. “If Woods tolerated Korean life well, Rios really enjoys it.” The saying “a person who enjoys working hard cannot encounter adversity” describes Rios exactly.

A foreign player who can help his team in the game and play practical jokes on the rookies is no usual thing. To his successors he is not a foreign import but a ‘veteran’.

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