YouTube Star Released, First All-Star Turns Life Around

Kim Jae-yeol (28) of NC Dinosaurs is a bit more special than any other players. He was released three years after receiving the rookie’s nomination and served in the military without any affiliation. He had no choice but to let go of baseball, but he didn’t give up. He took the mound every weekend. His throwing the ball became a hot topic on YouTube, drawing attention from KBO clubs. That’s how Kim’s new professional life has begun. He moved to NC in this season’s second draft, recording his first 10 holds on debut, and was also selected as an All-Star player for the first time in his career.유흥알바

Kim Jae-yeol was released from Lotte in 2017. The following year, he started serving in the military as an industrial technician. He slept five hours a day during the double shift work and built himself up at the gym when he was free. He wanted to solve his military service problems and try to become a professional again. It was then that he visited baseball as an adult. As he was serving in the military, it was impossible to throw an independent league for money.

■ Kim Won-joong’s words that woke Kim Jae-yeol up, “Let’s play baseball properly with a venom.”

He threw balls at two to three Industrial League teams in Busan. Reflecting on the situation, Kim said, “I wanted to take the mound even on weekends. I thought I had to constantly deal with batters even if it was an Industrial League.” When I asked if it was still too much for a player who threw balls in the professional league to participate in Industrial League, he waved his hand. “What you should know is that I didn’t just score no runs in Industrial League. There were days when I threw poorly and hit the wall because I was angry,” Kim said with a smile. “Some players were former players, but there were many guys who were good at it. Maybe because you play golf a lot, even though you are a regular citizen, you are really good at it. What’s more, don’t you use aluminum bat in Industrial League?” Kim added.

There was someone who helped Kim Jae-yeol, who was preparing for a new challenge, to make his mind strong once again. He is Kim Won-joong (31), who is still active as a finishing pitcher for Lotte. One holiday around that time, Kim Jae-yeol ate with Kim Won-joong. He was a senior who had been close since he was a professional player. Kim Jae-yeol said, “I still remember what Won-joong said then. Now, don’t think about anything, just baseball, and try it again with venom.” Won-joong always had that attitude toward baseball. So that really touched my heart.”

It was when he had about a year left to work as an industrial technician. Kim Jae-yeol decided to try his best to be really strong. It wasn’t that I didn’t exercise before, but my mindset changed. “Now, I think I really thought about playing baseball with the determination to die,” Kim said.

■Forkball with Bigger Drop, First All-Star “What I’ve Only Dreamed About”

So far, Kim returned to the professional league after going through a tryout and signing a contract with KIA. Ahead of this season, he moved to NC in the second draft. He pitched 41 times so far on Saturday, recording a 1.70 ERA and one win (one loss) 10 holds during 42.1 innings. He recorded 10 holds for the first time in five seasons in the main league. He was also selected as an All-Star by recommending his manager as an indispensable member of the NC bullpen. When he was eliminated from the fan voting, Kim said, “I don’t mind at all. I feel proud just to be a candidate,” but his selection as the first All-Star is naturally impressive. After the All-Star announcement, Kim said through his club, “It is an honor for what I dreamed of to become a reality.”

Kim’s main weapon is the forkball. He started throwing for the first time when he was a Kia Tigers player, and intensively honed his pitching this spring after moving to NC Dinosaurs. He joined coaches Kim Soo-kyung and Lee Yong-hoon as well as the team’s data team. He kept throwing and changing his grip by checking the numbers of trackmen. As a result, he is now a forkball with the best pitching value of 9.7 (based on the statistics) in this season’s game. “The speed has decreased a little, but the drop has gotten a lot bigger,” Kim said in an explanation of the change.

These days, I am just happy to go to the mound and throw a ball in the best season since my debut. Kim Jae-yeol said, “Sometimes there are bad days, but the coach and coach constantly trust me and let me go. I think I can’t stop being addicted to baseball because of that joy of going up in such an important situation and blocking the opponent’s batter.” When asked about the record goal, Kim Jae-yeol said, “The record bothers me to some extent, but I like the joy of playing against a batter and winning.” It must have been because of that joy that Kim Jae-yeol kept his dream of becoming a professional baseball player while tapping the stage of the Industrial League.

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