2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) The most embarrassing thing the Korean national team faced against Japan was the response to the pitchers who threw the ball fast.
In Korea, Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears) threw 153km and Lee Eui-ri (KIA Tigers) 155km, throwing fast balls over 150km, but even these were only a taste of one or two hits per batter.
In contrast, the speed of fastballs of Japanese pitchers all easily exceeded 150 km. Even Japan’s Hiroto Takahashi (Chunichi Dragons), who was the last pitcher in the Korean War, was on a different level from the Korean pitching staff, with 156km being the lowest fastball speed. Even Sasaki Rocky (Chiba Lotte Marines) easily overcame 160 km, 100 miles.
If it had been misunderstood, would Lee Jung-hoo, who had a multi-hit game in Japan, confess, “It was the first ball I’ve ever seen in my life”?
It was not easy for Korean batters, who had no experience hitting such a fast ball, to hit Japanese pitchers’ balls. On the other hand, Japanese batters, who were already accustomed to fast balls that far exceeded 150 km, easily attacked the Korean pitchers’ balls, which were not even properly controlled.
In this wind, in the KBO League, a voice of self-reflection came out in the baseball world that special measures were needed to improve the pitcher’s restraint ability so that more pitchers with really fast balls that could go over 150 km could come out.
The 2023 KBO league demonstration game has begun. There are still more than 15 days left until the start of the regular season.
This year, the pitchers’ condition seems to be improving faster than in previous years, perhaps thanks to the fact that each professional baseball team finished their spring camp in a warm overseas country. In particular, I got the impression that many foreign pitchers are starting with the demonstration games, and the physical condition of each team’s ace level was better than expected.
In the midst of this, pitchers who throw more than 150 km in demonstration games are attracting attention one after another.
They are Jang Jae-young, An Woo-jin (Lee Sang Kiwoom Heroes) and Kim Seo-hyun (Hanwha Eagles).
Ahn Woo-jin already dominated the KBO league last year with 224 strikeouts and an average ERA (2.11), and is acknowledged by others as the best pitcher, so there is no need for further explanation.
On the 14th, Ahn Woo-jin started against Gocheok kt and threw a fast ball up to 157 km. He was somewhat out of control and he pitched for no runs, striking out four, although he faced 13 batters in three innings and allowed two hits on three walks. Still, the bats of kt batters often went wrong on fast balls.
Jang Jae-young,토토사이트 who joined in 2021 with a down payment of 900 million won, the second-largest rookie of all time, and failed to win a win in 33 games over the past two seasons, is also worth looking forward to this year.
Jang Jae-young, who improved his skills by joining Geelong Korea in the Australian League after the end of last year’s season, recorded a maximum velocity of 153km and a fast ball with an average speed of 150km in the match against kt on the 13th, the opening day of the exhibition game, recording 2 innings, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts and no runs. . He gave up two walks in the first inning, but handled it cleanly with an infield grounder in the second, including two strikeouts. Despite his fast ball, his control, which was pointed out as a problem, was also considerably improved.
Newcomer Kim Seo-hyun, who was immediately evaluated as a sense of power from the spring camp, also surprised the surroundings by recording 158 km in the first official game.
Kim Seo-hyun took the mound in the 8th inning as the 5th pitcher against the Daejeon KIA Tigers on the 14th and gave up a walk and a right-handed hit, facing a crisis on 1st and 2nd base. He showed that the words ‘super rookie’ and ‘super newbie’ are not fictitious rhetoric.
Although he has not played an exhibition game yet, Hanwha also has Moon Dong-ju, a rookie in his second year. Moon Dong-ju also had a fastball speed of 158 km last year.
Last year, the average velocity of Korean players’ fastballs in the KBO League was Go Woo-seok (LG Twins, 153.5 km), An Woo-jin (Kiwoom Heroes, 153.4 km), and Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles, 151.6 km). However, Ko Woo-seok was unable to pitch in the final due to neck pain in the evaluation match against Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball before the first round of the WBC, and Woo-jin An and Dong-ju Moon were not selected for the national team.
As you can see here, only three first-team pitchers exceeded an average speed of 150 km in the KBO League last year. Even including foreign pitchers, there were only six of them.
This year, when domestic and foreign pitchers are combined, there will be over 10 pitchers with an average speed of 150 km or more.
I look forward to the era of 150km pitchers coming to the KBO league as soon as possible.