Another ‘reverse export myth’? Hanwha release→ML return ‘0.364 batting average in May’…’Ghost Fork’ not scary either
Another “former KBO player” is about to fulfill the myth of big league success, this time in the form of Hanwha Eagles’ Mike Tuckman 먹튀검증 (Chicago Cubs).
On the 25th (KST), Tuckman started against the New York Mets in Chicago and went 2-for-4 at the plate.
Most notably, the Mets’ starting pitcher that day was Godai Senga of “Ghost Fork” fame. Senga is off to a solid start in his rookie season, going 4-3 with a 3.94 ERA.
Tuckman, on the other hand, was not re-signed after struggling with Hanwha last year, batting .288 with 12 home runs, 43 RBIs, and a .795 OPS. Despite his solid defense in center field, quick feet, impressive baserunning, and one-hit wonder, Hanwha opted for Brian “Bigfoot” O’Grady.
Knocking on the door of the major leagues again, Tuckman was called up on April 20 after Cody Bellinger’s knee injury opened the door. The 25th will be Tuckman’s fifth big league game of the season.
Tuckman hit back-to-back singles to left field off Senga in the second and third innings to lead his team to a 4-2 victory. He improved his big league batting average to 3-for-6 (4-for-11).
The original “reverse exporter” was Eric Thames, who got a taste of the big leagues in Toronto and Seattle before making his KBO debut in an NC uniform in 2014. Over the next three years, he literally dominated the league, putting up monster numbers of .349 with 124 home runs, 382 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.172.
He then returned to the major leagues, playing for the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals. While he didn’t dominate like he did in Korea, he still managed to hit 72 home runs in his three years in Milwaukee, including a .877 OPS in his rookie year.
Among pitchers, Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks) was a huge success story. After posting a 48-32 record and 3.86 ERA with the SK Wyverns, he returned to the majors and has been a de facto ace in his fifth year in Arizona, posting a 41-38 record.
Outside of them, Brooks Reilly (New York Mets), Chris Flexen (Seattle Mariners), and Darin Ruff (former San Francisco Giants) have had their moments, while Ben Lively (Cincinnati Reds) has also broken out this year.
Tuckman could be another “reverse export myth,” which is why it’s even more bittersweet for Hanwha fans to see O’Grady decline.