“National Closer” Ko Woo-seok (25-LG Twins) is in the middle of a protest controversy. He played against his manager’s advice. The truth.
Go Woo-seok is a hard-throwing pitcher who represents South Korea. He’s one of the best closers in the game, and he’s now the national team’s closer. International scouts have also taken notice of his fastball and continue to check it out.
Recently, Go has been using his changeup as his deciding pitch rather than his fastball, which is his strength. However, the results were not good, so after the Jamsil Hanwha game (a loss) on the 2nd, the coaching staff and two catchers had a meeting with him. LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop told reporters in a pre-game interview on the 5th, “I told him to reduce the percentage of his changeup. Go Woo-seok, catchers Park Dong-won and Heo Do-hwan got together and spent time communicating.”
“There are batters who need to be faced with a changeup, and there are batters who need to be faced with a fastball. We talked about how to take the ‘pitching design’ according to their biggest strengths and pitch type values. “His strength is his fastball,” he said, “but he has his own ideas, and many other people think as much as he does, so we communicated with each other. You have to use your changeup based on your fastball. If you throw a changeup and the ball count is unfavorable and you are forced to throw a fastball, you can get hit. On the third day against Hanwha in Jamsil, I put him in for a test while we were losing. His fastball percentage must have gone up a lot. (Go) Woo-seok has a lot of greed for changeups. But we had a good meeting and talked about it. We will continue to communicate a lot with the catcher.”
Pitching design is when a pitcher decides which pitches to throw and on what course to throw them while facing a batter. The ideal pitching design is one in which a pitcher throws at least 70% of his pitches with high value pitches and no more than 30% of his pitches with other pitches. For example, former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (36-Boston Red Sox) had a pitching design that consisted of more than 90% of his pitches being cutters, which was his primary weapon at the time. Ball mix, on the other hand, is a pitcher’s choice of pitches and pitches that are stronger and weaker in the batter’s zone. While pitching design is a pitcher-centered choice, ball mix is more of a hitter-centered concept.
Eventually, the coaching staff and catcher realized that Goh’s pitching design needed to change. The meeting had an immediate effect. After pitching a one-inning no-hitter against Hanwha in Jamsil on the 3rd, he earned the save against KT in Suwon on the 5th with 1⅔ innings of one-hit, one-strikeout ball. Go threw 22 pitches in the five games. He used 14 fastballs, five cutters, and three curves. It was an ideal pitching design, but it was his post-game interview that put him at the center of the “protest” controversy.
He laughed and said “no” to the question of whether the results of the communication were reflected in the game, and then said, “Oh, but I understand what the manager said, and this is probably because I’m a little stubborn, so until I heard the story before the game, the manager said something like, ‘I think the slider is weak,’ and I thought that if I went out today, I would throw only sliders from start to finish…. (laughs), and then I thought that I should show the manager, but when it was time to go out, I couldn’t think of anything,” he said with a smile.
“It’s ironic that it was all sliders that got the outs,” he said of his slider, before adding, “It’s also the pitch that’s the most out of the zone. I think because I’ve been out a lot with injuries, he hasn’t seen me as much, so I think he feels like my slider is weaker.” Inadvertently, the interview sparked a controversy among some fans, as it was misconstrued that he did not accept the advice and communication from the manager and catcher.
Coincidentally, Go Woo-seok blew a shocking blown save in the bottom of the ninth inning against Suwon KT on the 6th (4 runs on 4 hits in ⅔ innings with 2 walks and 1 strikeout). With the loss, even more criticism was directed at him. Eventually, the manager evolved. “My oldest son came into the manager’s office today and said, ‘I’m really sorry that I’ve caused a lot of trouble in our family.’ (Laughs) I appreciate that. He told me, ‘My oldest son is fine,'” he said. The ‘eldest son’ is Go Woo-seok. It was a great example of a leader embracing a player who came to him to apologize.안전놀이터
“He said, ‘How many games did you win for us, and why are you talking about that? There are a lot more games you did well,'” Yeom said. “I told him that he just needs to feel and think about what went wrong, and that it’s going to help him for the rest of the season, for next year, and for the rest of his baseball career. I think it’s going to be an opportunity for him to go to the next level,” he said.
Go Woo-seok is a valuable resource for the next decade of Korean baseball as the country’s leading closer. In that regard, he needs to listen to the advice of Yoon and his coaching staff and catchers. Oh Seung-hwan is a good example. In his prime, Oh dominated Korean baseball with a pitching design that emphasized fastballs over changeups. His fastball was his trademark, and he used it to wreak havoc on opposing batters and delete innings. His fastball was said to be so good that some batters couldn’t hit it. Like Oh in his prime, Go Woo-seok has a very powerful fastball. The ideal pitching design would be to use a changeup to work the count, but ultimately rely on the fastball for the big hit. This is because his most powerful weapon is his fastball, which is a “stone” to say the least.