Korean baseball collapsed, but there is still hope… The key is nurturing and managing
The biggest cause of Korean baseball’s humiliation of being eliminated in the first round three times in a row at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) held in March was a serious decline in pitching power.
The national team recorded a team ERA of 7.55, conceding a whopping 21 runs only in the match against Australia and Japan, and was pushed to 16th place out of 20 participating countries.
England (7.74), Czech Republic (7.94), Canada (8.71), and China (15.11) were the only teams with worse ERA than Korea.
On the other hand, the secret to Japan’s victory over the United States was a strong mound.토토사이트
In the final against the United States, all seven pitchers threw fastballs of over 150 km/h, and Japan took first place overall with a team ERA of 2.29.
The mound was also the driving force behind Korea’s advance to the semifinals in the first WBC and runner-up in the second WBC.
In the first inning, he ranked first overall with a team ERA of 2.00, and in the second inning, he ranked fourth with an ERA of 3.00.
However, since then, Korean baseball has stagnated like a ‘frog in a well’.
Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) and Kim Gwang-hyun (35, SSG Landers), who were key pitchers at the time of the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal and 2009 WBC runner-up, are still pitchers representing Korean baseball.
Of course, an outstanding pitcher named Ahn Woo-jin (24, Kiwoom Heroes) has appeared, but it is not easy for him to wear the Taegeuk mark due to ‘academic violence’ committed during high school.
However, it is not that there is no hope in the KBO League mound, which looks like a ‘wasteland’.
In the KBO League, which started its 42nd season after the disastrous WBC, the ‘Young Guns’, each unexpected team at the beginning of the season, are pitching beyond expectations.
The most eye-catching pitcher is Mun Dong-ju (20, Hanwha Eagles), a large rookie who joined last year.
Moon Dong-ju, who pointed out why Choo Shin-soo (41, SSG Landers) didn’t pick him ahead of the WBC, showed a powerful performance with 4 strikeouts in 5 innings and 1 hit and no runs in his first appearance this season against the Samsung Lions on the 6th. .
The top speed reached a whopping 159 km, and the bats of the Samsung batters rotated repeatedly on the curve with a large drop.
Kang Hyo-jong (21, LG Twins) and Kim Dong-joo (21, Doosan Bears), who pitched on the same day, also threw fast balls over 150km and became winning pitchers.
Jang Jae-young (21, Kiwoom), who had a starting match against Kang Hyo-jong and lost, was pointed out as a problem for showing a problem with the ball and giving out 5 walks up to the 4th inning, but the fast ball with a maximum speed of 155 km was outstanding.
Although he has not yet made his first team debut, Hanwha’s high school graduate Kim Seo-hyun (19) is also raising expectations early on as a fastball pitcher in the 150km range.
The encouraging fact is that they are ‘young guns’ who have been in the club for 3 years or less.
They still have rookie qualifications as they have not even filled 30 innings in their career in the first team league.
The key to the future is how to manage and nurture them.
Eui-ri Lee (21, KIA Tigers), who was the rookie of the year in 2021 and was also selected as a national representative for the Tokyo Olympics, pitched only 94⅓ innings in the first year.
The team’s performance was at a rock bottom, but manager Matt Williams at the time never overdid it.
Moon Dong-ju, who is in his second year this year, is also thoroughly managed by coach Carlos Subero.
In the last game against Samsung, the number of pitches was only 70 until the 5th inning, but he was replaced with a bullpen pitcher.
Hanwha suffered three consecutive losses after the opening, so it was difficult to win the first win of the season, but coach Subero prioritized protecting the young pitcher.
Moon Dong-ju threw 28⅔ innings in the first team last year, and recorded only 13⅓ innings in the Futures League.
In the first team league this year, the maximum pitching innings is expected to be around 100 innings.
An Woo-jin, who has grown into the current KBO League’s best pitcher, was banned from playing twice in the KBO League, but only reached 100 innings for the first time in 2021, the fourth year after joining the team.
And last year, the fifth year of his joining, he played full-time for the first time and threw 196 innings, standing tall as the best pitcher in the KBO League.
On the other hand, Ryu Hyun-jin, who was the only player in KBO history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP at the same time, threw over 3,000 balls in 201⅔ innings despite being only 19 years old in 2006, his debut season.
Ryu Hyun-jin advanced to the major leagues in the US only after pitching 1,269 innings for seven years until the age of 25, including 211 innings in 2007.
As soon as he entered the major leagues, he established himself as a key pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, Ryu Hyun-jin is on the injured list (IL) from time to time, giving great regret, as he underwent two major surgeries even though he has enough skills to work in the United States.
The fact that Ryu Hyun-jin suffers from injuries like this must have had a considerable effect on the abuse he suffered during his time at Hanwha.
If you look at the growth process of Ryu Hyun-jin and An Woo-jin, the 10 clubs will come up with a clear answer on how to manage and nurture young pitchers.