I got a good score in my mentality, which is one of the most necessary parts for a closer.”
Defending champion LG Twins’ goal for the 2024 season is, of course, to win the title. With the team finally ending its struggle to conquer the top spot in the Korean Series in 29 years last year, the next step is to build a “Twins dynasty.”
However, even before the championship spirit faded, there was an unexpected power loss. Ko Woo-suk, who had been in charge of the back door of his team, entered the San Diego Padres in the U.S. Major League through the posting system and faced a gap as a closing pitcher.
LG didn’t have to worry about managing the mound in the ninth inning since the 2019 season, when Ko Woo-suk became a full-time closing pitcher. Ko Woo-suk stood as one of the best closers in the league as well as LG with 8 wins, 2 losses, 35 saves and 1 hold in 71 innings in 65 games in the 2019 season, 4 losses, 17 saves and 1 hold in 41 ⅔ in 40 games in the 2020 season, 1 win, 5 losses and 30 saves in 63 games in the 2021 season, 2.17 average points, and 4 wins, 2 losses and 42 saves in 61 ⅔ in the 2022 season.
Although Ko Woo-suk slowed down with 44 innings in the 2023 season with 3 wins, 8 losses, 15 saves, and an ERA of 3.68, LG’s bullpen with Ko Woo-suk and LG’s bullpen without him are clearly different.
However, LG gave a boost to Ko’s dream. Not only LG Twins owner Koo Bon-yeung but also LG Twins manager Yeom Kyung-yeop actively supported Ko’s advance into overseas markets. Although it was inevitable that his team would weaken its power, it did not block him from moving forward.
Coach Yeom Kyung-yeop immediately selected Yoo Young-chan as the closing pitcher of the 2024 season as soon as Ko Woo-suk’s advance to the Major League was confirmed. There were several candidates within the team, but Yoo Young-chan was judged to be the right person.
“I think Yoo Young-chan will play some role as a closing pitcher for LG this year,” manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said. “Yoo Young-chan may have a hard time because baseball is not always going the way you think, but we need to help the manager and coaching staff overcome this well.” Yoo Young-chan needs to take his place, but LG’s composition next year and the year after next can be better prepared,” he said.
After graduating from Konkuk University in 2020, Yoo joined the LG Twins in the fifth round of the second round of the rookie draft and the 43rd overall pick. Although Yoo never took the mound in the first division until the 2022 season, he has exploded his potential in the 2023 season.
Yoo showed a remarkable performance with 6 wins, 3 losses, 1 save, and 12 holds ERA of 3.44 in 68 innings in 67 games last year. He has established himself as a must-win group since his debut in the first division, and played a decisive role in LG’s rise to No. 1 in the pennant race and advance to the Korean Series.헤라카지노도메인
Based on his powerful fastball with a maximum speed of 150 kilometers and sharp slider in the mid-130s, Yoo has become a right-handed bullpen agent. Although he allowed 40 walks in the 2023 season, he was highly praised for not pitching in the form of running away.
Yoo proved himself to be a “strong-minded” player in the 2023 Korean Series against the KT Wiz. He pitched in the second, third, and fifth games to support LG’s “V3” by allowing three hits, one walk, six strikeouts, and one run and one hold in three games and six innings.
The official MVP of the 2023 Korean Series was LG Captain Oh Ji-hwan, but Yoo Young-chan also contributed significantly to the championship. Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop also gave 10 million won (18,400 U.S. dollars) each to catcher Park Dong-won and Yoo Young-chan who showed MVP-class performance at his own expense.
In addition to ball power, coach Yeom Kyung-yeop’s strong mentality gives high marks to Yoo Young-chan. A young pitcher with no experience in autumn baseball gave a passing score to the “Baejjang-tu” he showed during the Korean Series last year.
“Yoo Young-chan throws fastballs, which can be attributed to power characteristics. I also saw a positive aspect of his fastball speed, which can be increased by 1-2 kilometers this year,” manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said. “If I adjust my folk balls, which I didn’t use a lot last year, I can achieve more than 30 saves right away from this season.”
“Yoo Young-chan also scored well for the coaching staff in his mental state, which is one of the most necessary parts for the closing pitcher,” he said. “This is based on his experience in the Korean Series, the biggest game. Yoo Young-chan has no experience in throwing the closing pitcher, but it was evaluated that he has the highest probability of success in our team.”
Since starting his career as a head coach of the Kiwoom Heroes in the 2013 season, Yeom Kyung-yeop had many lucks (福s) as a closing pitcher. In the 2013-2014 season, Son Seung-rak became the save king for two consecutive years, and took charge of the ninth inning of the hero team.
Coach Yeom Kyung-yeop hired Kim Se-hyun as a free agent after Son Seung-rak moved to Lotte Giants after the end of the 2015 season. Kim Se-hyun has never played the role of closure since his professional debut in 2006, but Yeom believed in Kim’s fastball and experience.
Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop’s eyes were clear. Kim Sei-hyun won the title of “Save King” in the 2016 season with 26 games, 62 ⅓ innings, two wins, no losses, 36 saves, and an ERA of 2.60. Kiwoom, which was considered the last place candidate, successfully advanced to the post season as the third place finisher in the 2016 season thanks to Kim Sei-hyun’s performance.
Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop shared another save king with the SK Wyverns (currently the SSG Landers) in the 2019 season. Ha Jae-hoon showed a remarkable performance with 5 wins, 3 losses, 36 saves, and three holds with an ERA of 1.98 in 59 innings in 61 games. Ha Jae-hoon turned to an outfielder from the 2022 season due to his shoulder injury, but his performance as a pitcher was terrifying.
“The process is the most important for a closing pitcher. The most important thing for a player to settle down is not the player’s persistence when he can’t do well from start to finish, but how much the team, the manager and the coaching staff support him.”
“We are ready to wait. If a coach trusts a player and gives him enough time, he will overcome the crisis,” he said. “The same was true for Kim Se-hyun, and so did Cho Sang-woo, Han Hyun-hee, Seo Jin-yong and Ha Jae-hoon.”