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Bears' Raul Alcantara wins top pitching award in S. Korean baseball

Sports 14:31 November 11, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- Doosan Bears' Dominican right-hander Raul Alcantara won the top pitching award in South Korean professional baseball on Wednesday.

Alcantara became the fourth Doosan recipient of the Choi Dong-won Award, an annual prize named after the late former pitcher in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). He will receive a trophy and 20 million won (US$18,000) in prize money.

In 2020, his second season in the KBO, Alcantara led all pitchers with 20 wins and ranked second in innings pitched with 198 2/3, second in strikeouts with 182, and fourth in ERA with 2.54.

Raul Alcantara of the Doosan Bears pitches against the LG Twins in the bottom of the first inning of Game 2 of the first-round playoff series in the Korea Baseball Organization at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 5, 2020. (Yonhap)

The award was created by the Choi Dong-won Memorial Foundation in 2014 to recognize the best homegrown pitcher in the KBO in the name of Choi, who passed away in 2011.

Foreign pitchers were considered for the honor for the first time in 2018, and former American ace for the Bears, Josh Lindblom, won the prize in 2018 and again in 2019.

There have been two other winners from the Bears: Jang Won-jun (2016) and Yoo Hee-kwan (2015).

The award ceremony has been held on Nov. 11 each year, in a nod to Choi's old number, 11. This year, the postseason is still under way -- Alcantara's Bears are playing the KT Wiz in the penultimate stage, and he's scheduled to pitch Thursday -- the date of the ceremony will be determined later.

"It's a huge honor to receive an award named after the Korean baseball legend," Alcantara said. "I'd like to thank my teammates, coaches and family who've helped me along the way. I will keep No. 11 close to my heart until the end of the postseason."

Candidates must meet the following criteria: at least 25 starts, 180 innings pitched, 12 wins, 150 strikeouts, 15 quality starts, a sub-3.00 ERA and 35 saves.

From the nine-person selection committee for the foundation, seven gave first-place votes to Alcantara. Without offering further details, the foundation said four American pitchers were also in the running: Dan Straily of the Lotte Giants, Aaron Brooks of the Kia Tigers, Drew Rucinski of the NC Dinos and David Buchanan of the Samsung Lions.

The foundation said it gave high marks to Alcantara for holding the Bears' rotation together as other starters fell by the wayside with injuries and slumps this season.

In this file photo from Oct. 30, 2020, Raul Alcantara of the Doosan Bears pitches against the Kiwoom Heroes during a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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