“I try to get enough sleep. I’m also focusing on protein in my meals.”
For NC Dinos pitcher Kim Young-kyu, getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthy is how he overcomes the heat.
The left-hander from Gwangju Seoseokcho, unranked, and Gwangju First High School is the 79th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 Draft. His pitches include a slider, curveball, and changeup, and his fastball averages about 144 mph.
After becoming the KBO’s first player born in the 2000s and NC’s first no-hitter in 2019, Kim began working out of the bullpen in the 2021 season and has since settled in fully. Up until last year, he had a 14-16 record, one save, 21 holds, and a 4.88 ERA in 159 games (263.2 innings).
This season, Kim has been just as dominant. In April, he went 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA in five appearances. In May, he went 1-0 with a 7.20 ERA in six games, but rebounded in June with a 2.13 ERA in six appearances.
He pitched even better in July, when the heat wave began in earnest. He went 1-0 with no wins, holds, or saves in 10 games that month, but posted a 2.25 ERA. He has continued to pitch well in August with four holds and a 3.27 ERA (through 30 games). What is the secret to Kim’s strong summer?
When we recently met at Changwon NC Park, he said, “I try to get a lot of sleep. I feel better when I get enough sleep,” he said, “I don’t eat midnight snacks. For meals, I try to eat meat, sashimi, and other foods that can be used for energy. Protein-oriented,” he explained.
He added, “It’s been raining a lot lately. I haven’t been able to play much, so I think I’m in good shape physically,” he said.
After posting his first double-digit hold in 72 games (66 innings) last year with a 2-7 record, one save, 13 holds, and a 3.41 ERA, Kim has improved this season. He’s now 4-4 with 17 saves (4th) and a 3.26 ERA in 51 appearances, and he’s well on his way to being called one of the best relievers in the league beyond the NC.
“It’s a little tighter out there this year. “I’m trying to stay focused and not get hit,” he said. “When middle relievers like me falter, it makes the whole team feel bad. I feel like I have more responsibility,” he said solemnly.
The player I’d most like to see Kim get rid of is Koo Seung-min (Lotte Giants). Since making his professional debut in 2014, the right-hander has compiled a 23-26 record, five saves, 105 holds, and a 4.41 ERA in 372 games (377.1 innings pitched) so far this year. Notably, he has posted double-digit saves in four consecutive seasons from 2020 to this season.
Kim Young-gyu said, “The player I feel is amazing is Koo Seung-min. When I see him playing 50 games every year while maintaining good form, I think it’s amazing. I want to emulate that kind of consistency,” he said.
In the middle of this season, Kim Young-kyu generated a lot of heartwarming emotions when he shared his dreams and hopes with a fan who was battling cancer. He first met Mr. Hwang, who revealed that he had stage 3 colon cancer, at a fan meeting after the 2022 season ended. At that time, Kim Young-gyu signed a supportive sign with an encouraging message, saying, “Have a good time with your chemotherapy and let me know if you need to contact me, and I’ll see you at the stadium.
On May 24 of this year, after completing his eighth round of chemotherapy, Mr. Hwang was healthy enough to visit the stadium. When Hwang met Kim at the stadium, he thanked him and gave him a gift with the message, “The relief pitcher who gave me hope. Kim reciprocated by handing him an autographed ball along with an authentic jersey.
“I didn’t do anything big,” he said of the situation. “It wasn’t a big deal at all. He was in a tough situation, and he said that baseball was his one ray of hope. I did it because I wanted to give him more confidence and courage,” he laughed.
NC is having an impressive season this year. Despite losing Yang-ji, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Won Jong-hyun to the Doosan Bears, Lotte, and Kiwoom Heroes respectively via free agency during the off-season, and suffering through injuries to key players both big and small, the team hasn’t fallen from grace. Currently in fourth place with 55 wins, two ties, and 49 losses, NC is looking to reach the postseason for the first time in three years since 2020 (when they won the overall title).
Much of the credit goes to the pitching staff. Currently, the NC pitching staff has a 3.73 ERA, which ranks second out of 10 teams behind the LG Twins (3.70).
When asked about the secret to the pitching staff’s success, Kim Young-gyu said, “(Lee) Yong-chan and (Lim) Jung-ho take care of me a lot. They keep going out to eat with us and pay a lot of attention to the details.” “Even when we’re not doing well, they tell us, ‘You can’t always do well. There will be times when you can’t, so you need to be confident and focused,'” he said. I think that’s why I was able to play the season comfortably.”메이저사이트
Finally, having played in the postseason in 2019 (finishing fifth in the NC) and 2020, he said, “It’s been a while since I’ve played fall baseball. I really want to play fall baseball, and this year, I hope to play fall baseball here at Changwon NC Park and feel the festive atmosphere with the home fans.” “The players are doing very well right now. If we manage well and continue our momentum, I think we will be able to go to the postseason, and if we do, I think we will be able to play a good game.” He did not hide his desire for fall baseball.