The ‘Pitcher Kingdom’ KIA Tigers are engulfed in new concerns this season.
There are a lot of left-handed bullpen agents. Last year, other than Lee Jun-yeong (31) and Kim Jeong-bin (29), no suitable pitcher could be found. However, this year, Kim Dae-yu (32), Kim Ki-hoon (23), Choi Ji-min (20), and Yoon Young-cheol (19) joined in addition to them, and the depth was greatly strengthened. It seems that how to use those who have their strengths in any position will be an important factor in the composition of the bullpen this season.
Kim Dae-yu and Kim Ki-hoon are the players whose utilization methods are attracting attention this season. Kim Dae-yu, who transferred from LG Twins to KIA as a reward player for FA Park Dong-won, has a left-handed sidearm that is rare in the league. Based on his powerful pitch, he played an active role in the LG bullpen for the past two seasons. He is also compliant in terms of records, including 37 holds in 123 games in two seasons and an earned run average of 2 points. He is considered a strong runner to replace Jang Hyeon-shik (28) and Jeon Sang-hyun (27), whose performance this season is uncertain due to an elbow injury last year. Kim Ki-hoon, who was discharged from the military last year, recorded an average ERA of 1.04 in five games at the end of the season. While taking the starting position at Sangmu, he took advantage of the advantage of throwing long innings, and his pitching position also evolved powerfully while resolving his pitch anxiety. It is expected that Kim Ki-hoon will do his part in the KIA bullpen, where there was no long-relief agent other than Yoon Joong-hyun (27) last year.
Choi Ji-min, a second-year player, has also been attracting attention since the beginning of spring camp. He joined the opening roster last season, but eventually went down to the Futures (Second Team) without overcoming pitch anxiety. After the season, he joined Geelong Korea of the Australian Professional Baseball (ABL) and delivered impressive pitches. His strong pitch and strikeout ability were his strengths, but after going through Geelong Korea, he even improved his speed. Looking back at last year’s spring camp, practice games, and exhibition games, where he threw well and collapsed in the regular season, it seems that consistency will eventually be the key to success.
We are also interested in how to use rookie Yoon Young-chul. Although he made a name for himself as the best left-hander in high school, he cannot be free from the accumulation of fatigue from playing many innings. KIA also took this into account and decided to focus on physical training instead of pitching until spring camp. Yoon Young-cheol’s pitching ability during the camp was evaluated as satisfactory. KIA is drawing a picture of building up with the bullpen after going through the Futures, but depending on whether Yoon Young-chul pitches, he may be able to take a position in the first team from the start of the season like Eui-ri Lee. 스포츠토토
Lee Joon-young is one of the resources to compete with Kim Dae-yu for the position of Pil Seung-jo. Last year, he threw 46⅓ innings in 75 games and had a ‘career high’ season with 1 win, 1 loss, 1 save, 17 holds, and an average ERA of 2.91. Kim Jeong-bin, who was traded from SSG Landers last year and wore the KIA uniform, is expected to be able to play a role in adding strength to the bullpen if he refines his pitch a little more.
Even this season, the KIA has a firm rotation of 5 starting pitchers, including the foreign one-two punch, Yang Hyeon-jong (35), Lee Eui-ri (21), and Lim Ki-young (30), and Jung Hae-young (22) is holding out as the closer pitcher. The importance of bullpen management that connects them goes without saying. The answer must be found through this US spring camp on how to utilize left-handed pitchers who can add variety.