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Former SF Giants pitcher Andrew Suarez earns KBO All-Star selection

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Andrew Suarez #59 of the SF Giants pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 17, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Andrew Suarez #59 of the SF Giants pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 17, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Andrew Suarez
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 04: Andrew Suarez #59 of the SF Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Oracle Park on September 4, 2020. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Former SF Giants pitcher Andrew Suarez has found great success in a new environment this season. The Giants sold Suarez to the LG Twins in the KBO-South Korea’s most prominent pro baseball league-last offseason, and he immediately became an ace in their rotation. In fact, Suarez’s performance in the Twins rotation has earned him a selection to the KBO All-Star game.

In his first season in the KBO, Suarez has completed 89.1 innings in 16 starts and recorded 93 strikeouts, 33 walks, and a 2.52 ERA. Perhaps most impressive of all, Suarez has surrendered just four home runs all season in the incredibly hitter-friendly league.

Former SF Giants lefty Andrew Suarez made the KBO All-Star game.

The Giants drafted Suarez in the second round of the 2015 MLB draft out of Miami. He was considered a pitchability southpaw with a limited ceiling but a high floor. In his first full season as a professional, Suarez reached Double-A, where he posted a 3.95 ERA across 114 innings pitched. By the next year, he was posting even better numbers at Triple-A Sacramento, knocking on the doors of the big leagues.

By 2018, Suarez was a mainstay in the Giants rotation, completing 160.1 innings across 29 starts his rookie year. While he was far from dominant (4.49 ERA), he limited free passes (45) and worked deep enough into games to make up for the hard contact he did surrender. However, his time as a starter in San Francisco would be short-lived.

In Farhan Zaidi’s first offseason with the Giants, he acquired several starting pitchers, including Kevin Gausman, and Suarez’s spot in the rotation was soon up for grabs. After some early-season struggles, the southpaw was relegated to the bullpen. Suarez’s fastball did see an uptick in velocity, but he still lacked the overpowering stuff to be effective in one-inning outings. Oscillating between MLB and Triple-A, Suarez finished the season having made just 21 big-league appearances (2 starts) and posting a 5.79 ERA across 32.2 innings pitched.

Suarez received a few opportunities in 2020, recording a 3.72 ERA in six appearances out of the pen. However, the southpaw’s peripherals (five strikeouts and six walks) suggested he was due to regress. Had he remained in the Giants organization, he likely would have fallen into the same uncertain place fellow lefties Conner Menez and Caleb Baragar have found themselves in this year, jumping between MLB, Triple-A, and DFA limbo.

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Without a clear path to a permanent role with the SF Giants, Andrew Suarez pursued options elsewhere and found an opportunity with the LG Twins in the KBO. After earning an All-Star selection, Suarez is making a strong case for a more permanent big-league opportunity if he returns stateside.

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