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Pitching Phenom Brims With Confidence

Posted January. 02, 2007 03:01,   


“(Compare myself to) Hyun-jin? That’s a bit of a burden. He’s too good.”

A new figure starting 2007 in SK professional baseball, Kim Kwang-hyun (Age 19, Ansan Technical High school) gets asked to compare himself to Ryu Hyun-jin (Age 20, Hanwha) every time he does an interview.

Kim Kwang-hyun, who had his interview at Incheon Munhak Baseball Stadium with Dong-A Ilbo, spoke with great modesty. But despite his modest attitude, there was no hiding his confidence.

187cm-tall left-hander like Ryu-

SK has a past with the “monster pitcher” Ryu Hyun-jin that they would rather forget. In the first round of the player draft in 2006, SK picked catcher Lee Jae-won over Ryu Hyun-jin, and Ryu, who went to Hanwha, proved to be a jackpot. This year he earned himself a triple crown for pitching (most wins, strikeouts, and lowest earned-run average). Hanwha laughed, but SK scout team members cried their hearts out throughout the year.

The player who will hopefully relieve the team from this regret is Kim Kwang-hyun. This is because Kim and Ryu have much in common. Both are left-handers who are relatively tall. They have an excellent pitch that spins the ball down. The only difference is that Ryu, who weighs more 90kg, has a heavier pitch than Kim. Kim is only slightly over 80kg. For this reason, Kim took great care over what he ate when he was at the Miyazaki camp in Japan and Jeju Island at the end of last year.

But he says that regardless of how much he eats, he does not gain weight easily. He made a great effort eating day and night, but gained only 2 to 3kg.

SK perceives that Kim Kwang-hyun will be able to grow to become a bigger figure than Ryu Hyun-jin. Kim’s ability has been verified as he led his team to victory at the World Youth Championship held in Cuba in September 2006, and was named Most Valuable Player. The head of SK scout team, Huh Jung-wook said, “I have never seen a player like Kwang-hyun who satisfies all means. Kwang-hyun has match managing skills, diverse pitches and a sharp curve ball. He can break all records of Korean professional baseball in the future if he just goes easy.”

Last year’s World Youth Championship MVP-

Kim Kwang-hyun also receives high marks because of his attitude in taking the initiative and setting a good example. Director Huh said, “When I went to watch a practice game when Kwang-hyun was a senior at high school, I found him cleaning the living quarters by himself. He was apologetic toward his fellow players for receiving special treatment on the team, and whenever there was dirty work, he would offer to do it first.”

Although he has innocent and naïve looks, Kim Kwang-hyun said, “I have never been tense or nervous when I was on the mound.” He added, “I would like to become a great left-hander like my senior Lee Sang-hoon (former LG) or Randy Johnson (New York Yankees). This year I don’t think ten wins are enough. I would like to have about 13 to 15 wins.”