In 2006, there were not a few boys who held a baseball in their hands for the first time. It was a time when the World Baseball Classic (WBC) invitation was held and the baseball wind was blowing in Korea. A boy who was in the second grade of an elementary school in Gyeonggi Province also started playing baseball in the neighborhood with his friends at this time. This boy grew his dream of becoming 카지노사이트 the Taegeuk mark while watching Bong Joong-geun (43) knock Japan’s Ichiro Suzuki (50) out with a ground ball at the 2nd WBC held three years later.
This boy made his debut in 2020, 11 years later, at Kiwoom Professional Baseball. This is the story of left-handed pitcher Kim Jae-woong (25), who served as the 8th inning setup man and 9th inning closer as a bullpen pitcher last season, helping the team advance to the Korean Series. Kim Jae-woong, who also posted double-digit saves (13) in third place in the hold (27), was included in the 2023 WBC interest entry (50), leaving only one step in his dream.
His name was not included in the WBC final entry (30 players) released on the 4th. Kim Jae-woong, whom we met at Gocheok Stadium on the 11th, couldn’t hide his regret, saying, “Becoming a national representative is a dream I’ve always wanted.” Last season, he recorded his personal best with an ERA of 2.01, but Kim Jae-woong was a player with a higher percentage of flying balls (77) than ground balls (46). The Korean national team chose 11 out of 15 pitchers (73.3%) as ground ball judo players to attack Australia’s batting line, the first opponent of this tournament.
Of course, I couldn’t just give an excuse for my pitching style. Kim Jae-woong said, “(Excluded from the national team) I think the biggest issue was the restraint problem,” and “We have to keep raising the restraint. This season, my goal is to increase my average speed by about 2 km more than last year.” Kim Jae-woong’s average fastball speed, which was 137.8 km/h in the first year of his debut, is steadily increasing to 140.0 km/h last season.
In fact, Kim Jae-woong’s strength lies not in restraint, but in vertical movement. Since his debut in 2020, Jaewoong Kim has never lost the top spot in the Vertical Movement League. He uses the so-called ‘rising fastball’, which is less affected by gravity because the ball has a lot of rotation, and the ball falls less than the trajectory expected by the hitter, to the highest level in the league. Jaewoong Kim said, “If we increase his velocity while maintaining the advantage of vertical movement, we will be able to catch more fly balls and strikeouts in the future.”
The first goal of the new year set by Kim Jae-woong, who missed the Taegeuk mark, is to maintain the finishing position within the team this season. Kim Jae-woong, who was dropped as a finishing pitcher from August of last year, said, “Hold is good, but his save record has become more greedy. He is the only one on the team to finish the job. It felt so good when he came out at the end of a game the team was winning and gave them a win,” he said.
Kim Jae-woong became the king of saves (42) last year and showed a willingness to compete with right-handed pitcher Ko Woo-seok (LG), who was included in the final entry for the WBC this year. Kim Jae-woong said, “Woo-seok has been a pitcher with a strong fastball since his middle and high school days. He wanted to come to the pros and try to compete, but both were pitchers in a situation where the team was winning, so there was no opportunity to face off.”
He did not give up on his dream of becoming a national representative. After the WBC, the Hangzhou Asian Games are scheduled for September. “I am building up my muscles by throwing a ball that weighs over 3 kg every day like throwing a baseball. If I work hard like this, won’t a really good opportunity come to me too?” The boy’s dream, which began 17 years ago, is still in progress.