“Does he look happy?” Can the hated 21-year-old left-hander turn the corner in intensive training
He’ll be in his fourth year of professional baseball next year, but there’s one pitcher who makes you wonder every winter if he’ll be different and happy next year.
This is Kim Jin-wook (21) of the Lotte Giants. As a sophomore at Gangneung High School, he won the high school Choi Dong-won award. He was called the best pitcher in high school, one year ahead of Lee Yi-ri (KIA Tigers).
Lotte drafted him with the second overall pick in 2021 and gave him a contract worth 370 million won. That’s more than his friend Lee Yi-ri (300 million won) and one-year senior Choi Min-joon (KT Wiz, 360 million won), who made his debut after dominating high school baseball the previous year. Lotte’s excitement is palpable.
The past three years have been filled with disappointment. The team hasn’t been able to settle on a left-handed starter, let alone a bullpen. The gap between Lee Yi-ri and Choi Soo-joon, 카지노사이트넷 who have already established themselves as league and national-level starters, has become an “overwhelming wall.
Lee has a career record of 8-12, 16 holds, and a 6.44 ERA. In all three seasons, he has posted ERAs in the mid-sixes. His release point is wobbly and his pitches are scattered, and he is a pitcher who can’t help but be disappointed, but when he pitches out of the bullpen, you can’t help but look forward to him again.
Kim Tae-hyung has been busy since his appointment. On the 24th, he held an inauguration ceremony, and on the 25th, he held a meeting with the players. He encouraged the young players, who faced the frustration of failing to win a fall baseball title for the sixth consecutive year, saying, “This is a passionate and capable team. Be confident,” but also warned them to “be strong in dealing with personal feelings and behaviors” and “never have the vague illusion that you will do better than this year. Build your body with baseball, not weights,” he said.
The Lotte Finals Camp will be held on a three-day training/one-day rest schedule. However, the first turn is four days. The 25th day was actually a light training session before dismissal. The coaching staff ordered the young pitchers to “actively practice bullpen pitching from the first day of the camp”. He said that he had been off for a year, and that he hadn’t lost his field sense at all because he was a commentator.
On the 26th, Kim stayed in the bullpen for a long time and watched the pitchers. Park Se-woong, Na Kyun-an, Koo Seung-min, Kim Won-joong, and other main pitchers have not yet joined the team. Rookies such as Jang Se-jin, Lee Tae-yeon, and Hong Min-ki pitched intensively in the bullpen. The pitching coaching staff, including Bae Young-soo and Kim Hyun-wook, assisted Kim.
“Overall, there are a lot of pitchers with fastballs,” Kim smiled as he met with reporters during the training session. However, he added, “It’s important to have a fastball, but you have to be able to control the game. However, it’s even better if the ball is fast and it’s caught,” he added.
Kim hasn’t memorized all of his players’ names yet. Many of them are practicing in unmarked jerseys.
But he does know the names of 2020 first-rounder Hong Min-ki and 2023 second-rounder Lee Jin-ha. Lee had high expectations after appearing in nine games for the first team in his debut season. Hong Min-ki returned this year after a disappointing military stint, but his first-team experience was limited to ⅓ of an inning in one game two years ago.
On this day, Kim expressed special interest in Kim Jin-wook, who pitched out of the bullpen. He mentioned his ‘pitch clock’ and checked his slide step. “The arm is dragging on the body, so the release comes and goes,” he said, referring to his former students Lee Young-ha (Doosan Bears) and Ham Deok-ju (LG Twins). “Take your time (and don’t rush),” he said with affection.
But Kim laughed when he told the press, “Did you see the smile on his face (when he saw Kim Jin-wook)?” Will his intensive training lead to Kim’s transformation?