Go to contents

19-year-old rookies are shaking up KBO league

Posted May. 05, 2023 07:59,   

Updated May. 05, 2023 07:59


For Yoon Young-chul, a nineteen-year-old rookie pitcher of the KIA Tigers, had every reason to be anxious with a home game against the Lotte Giants ahead on Wednesday; the Lotte Giants were winning nine consecutive games until the previous day, standing in first place in the KBO. The Giants’ starting pitcher was formidable Na Gyun-an, who was recording four wins and no loss this season.

Yet, apparently there was no hint of anxiety in the rookie’s face. With 135km/h fastballs and sharp sliders thrown at different parts of the strike zone, Yoon earned his first KBO victory, allowing one run on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts in five innings.

Yoon’s only run was given up in the fifth inning by a timely hit from the Giant’s second batter Kim Min-seok. Kim has made his KBO debut this season. The 19-year-old outfielder was the only batter to post multiple hits in the Giants’ lineup Wednesday (2 hits in 4 at bats). The rookie players were announced as the MVPs of the game of both teams.

In the second month into the KBO season, rookies are making a solid impression on baseball fans. For the past few years, only a handful of rookie players made it to the starting roster as the overall standard of the league has become much higher. However, quite a few rookies are off to nice starts this season, not only making it to the starting lineup but also stabilizing their presence in their teams.

In LG Twins vs. NC Dinos match in Changwon the same day, the Twins’ rookie sidearm pitcher Park Myung-geun delivered a victory for the team. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Twins leading the game 2-1, Park came in as the closing pitcher. He posted one win, two holds, one save, and an ERA of 3.86. “When you stand on the mound, you have to with the confidence of a king,” said Park. "I try to enjoy rather than be nervous."

In Hanwha Eagles vs. Doosan Bears match in Jamsil, the Eagles’ rookie Kim Seo-hyeon showed an incredible pitch mix. Kim used to throw at three quarters, but on Wednesday he performed overhand throws, giving no run in one inning. The Eagle’s rookie outfielder Moon Hyun-bin contributed to the team’s 8-3 with a timely two-base hit in the seventh inning.

The SSG Landers are also standing to benefit from rookie players. Right-arm pitcher Song Young-jin, who was called to fill the position of Enny Romero, who has been out with a shoulder injury, earned two victories as a starting pitcher with fastball variations using his middle finger. Another right-arm rookie pitcher Lee Ro-woon of the Landers has posted two holds in eight games with an ERA of 2.00 as a middle reliever.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com