Hanwha fireballer Moon Dong-ju, 20, will be a full-time starter for the first time this year. There is no doubt that he, along with Kim Seo-hyun, is the man to end the dark ages and usher in a new era for Hanwha.
However, Moon Dong-ju still needs to fill in the details as a starter. His fastball is still more of a raw, rough stone. In eight games, he’s 2-4 with a 4.74 ERA. There are command and control issues that come with being a fireballer. That doesn’t mean he walks a ton of batters. 20 in 38 innings. That’s not unmanageable. Of course, we should note the slight increase in May.
The underlying concern is his BABIP. With runners on base, it’s 0.181, but with runners in scoring position, it’s 0.290, and with runners in scoring position, it’s 0.300. Against KIA on the 25th, he pitched rather shakily with runners on base. No-decision in 4 innings with 5 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. His fastball touched 157 kilometers.
SPOTV commentator Lee Dae-hyung, who broadcast the game, said, “Moon Dong-ju has a high strikeout rate with runners on base. He almost always pitches to one, two, three, four. If you pitch at a certain tempo when there are runners on base, the runners anticipate it and start.” 먹튀검증
This is very important. Obviously, a fireballer is going to gather less power when he’s in the set position than when he’s winding up. This could have a subtle effect on the difference in ERA with and without runners on base. Furthermore, if you pitch at a constant tempo with runners on base, you’re giving them the opportunity to steal or aggressively run the bases, which means you’re more likely to give up a run when you get a hit.
It also means that Moon isn’t that good at keeping runners in scoring position. In the first inning, with the bases loaded and Socrates Brito at bat, he committed a walk. Commissioner Lee Dae-hyung said, “The balk was called because the step was twisted in the blocking motion and the throw was not delivered. My foot didn’t come off (the pitching plate), so I was forced to throw a blocking pitch, but it wasn’t balanced. That’s why I’m not good at catching runners because I haven’t been pitching long enough.”
A pitcher’s greatest virtue is minimizing runs. While keeping runs out of scoring position is important, improving your ability to strand runners increases your chances of keeping them out. “If you’re off-balance in your control motion, it’s because you’re in a hurry,” Lee said.
He added, “You have to be erratic with the timing of your pitches. It’s not good to pitch at a constant tempo, like four or three and a half. You can give up a stolen base that takes away your timing. He’ll get better as he gains more experience.” Moon still needs to work on his runner control and pitching tempo.
The encouraging thing is that he hasn’t hit a single home run this year, which means he can be more aggressive with his pitches. The quality of his curveball and changeup has also exceeded expectations.
Dae-hyung Lee said, “It’s hard for hitters to hit Moon’s pitches unless they have the timing in front of them, but if the ball is too fast, it’s hard to move forward. That’s why he needs to pitch aggressively. After the second inning, it’s much better to be bold than to give up four runs.”