This season’s defending champion LG Twins and Kia Tigers, who boast solid pitching and batting balance, are among the favorites. On top of that, another team is also mentioned as a contender. It is the KT Wiz.
KT Wiz’s team took its first step at the 2024 spring camp in a bright atmosphere. KT, the only team among the 10 teams to set up camp in Korea, started its training sessions at Hyundai Motor’s Dream Ball Park in Gijang County, Busan on the previous day.라바카지노도메인
KT has written a wonderful drama for the 2023 season. Amid a flurry of injuries early in the season, the margin of victory and loss widened to “-14” (10th with 10 wins, 2 draws and 24 losses in KT’s performance on May 18, 2023) at one point. It had seven wins, 14 losses and two draws in April last year, and nine wins and 15 losses in May, respectively, falling short of the 50 percent win rate.
However, he rebounded to No. 1 on a monthly basis by posting 15 wins and eight losses during the month of June, before jumping to 13 wins and six losses in July. He also rose to No. 2 in August with 19 wins and four losses (winning rate of 0.826). Since then, he has maintained the same ranking since then. He finished the pennant race the fastest with 10 wins, 11 losses and one draw in September, and 6 wins and four losses in October. His final record was 79 wins, 62 losses and three draws, ranking second.
It can be said that KT has the same power as last season. Although “Closer” Kim Jae-yoon left for the Samsung Lions (a total of 5.8 billion won for four years), it is no exaggeration to say that he has a powerful bullpen.
Park Young-hyun, a former hold king, will take the closing position where Kim Jae-yoon has left. “We need to let (Park Young-hyun) be assigned as a closing pitcher,” manager Lee Kang-chul told reporters on the first day of the camp. “Based on his ability, Park Young-hyun is the best. He keeps looking at me, saying he wants to do it, too. When he asks why, he says, “I want to do it.” Park Young-hyun was the youngest player to win the title of hold king in the KBO in his second year of professional career last season, with three wins, three losses, three saves and an ERA of 2.75 holds. His annual salary also jumped 162.3 percent (61 million won → 160 million won) from last season.
Son is another powerful bullpen pitcher. Son had eight wins, five losses, one save, and 15 holds in 64 games last season with an ERA of 3.42. During 73 ⅔ innings, he had 68 hits, 20 walks, 40 strikeouts, and a hit-out rate of 0.256. “Son seems to have greed, too. However, in terms of ball control, (Park) Young-hyun is more stable,” Lee said. Notably, Son played in four games in the Korean Series last year, allowing three hits (one homer) and one walk and two runs ( earned) during three ⅔ innings.
More than anything else, there is a bullpen pitcher whom Lee has high expectations on. It is Moon Yong-ik who brought in as compensation player for Kim Jae-yoon. “The average speed of his fastballs reaches 147 kilometers per hour. I think we should make the most of Moon Yong-ik.” “There are not many pitchers in our team who strike out and can throw 150 kilometers per hour and pitch big changeups. If you change the pitching design a little, it will be very helpful for the team,” Lee said. “I have a reputation for having a unique perspective when it comes to training pitchers. Although Moon’s ball control was unstable when he was with Samsung, he has high expectations on how he will change if he gets Lee’s guidance.
Park Si-young is also seeking to make a comeback. After undergoing elbow surgery in May 2022, Park rested well last season without playing in the first division. Park showed his leap forward with a 3-3 12-hold ERA of 2.40 in the 2021 season with Lee for the first time. “She took a year and a half off, but she got a lot better,” Lee said with a happy face.
Veteran Woo Kyu-min is also defending KT’s bullpen now. Through the second draft, Woo left Samsung and joined KT. Lee welcomed Woo, saying, “He is a veteran, so it is worth making full use of it against right-handed batters.” “There are (Lee) Sang-dong, (Son) Dong-hyung, and (Wu) Gyu-min in the group that needs to win. We can play according to the opponent’s batting order. We have decided (Park Young-hyun) in the ninth inning. And we will send out strong pitchers according to the opponent’s batting order.”
On top of that, KT is also seeking to make another leap forward. KT has signed an FA contract for up to 1.6 billion won (1.5 million U.S. dollars) for 2+2 years (down payment of 200 million won, total annual salary of 1.2 billion won, incentive of 200 million won). However, it can be said that it is a very luxurious bullpen, as even sovereignty does not feel secure about its position as a starting pitcher. “Of course, I don’t know how it will turn out, but I am very prepared in terms of quantity. I will do my best this year because I was young and had a bad condition last year,” Lee said.
With the return of Mel Rojas Jr., a former KBO MVP, he will be able to establish a powerful batting order leading to Kang Baek-ho, Park Byung-ho, and Rojas. “Bae Jung-dae and Kim Min-hyuk can form a table setter, and Jae-gyun and Jang Seong-woo can hit six or seven times. Kim Sang-soo will also play the role of connecting the top batters by using the same number as No. 9 hitter,” Lee stressed. “It would not be bad if Kim Sang-soo plays the role of connecting the players in the top batting order.” It is no exaggeration to say that the lineup is full of fear that has nowhere to avoid. What kind of power and destructive power will KT show in the 2024 season.