Recently, 바카라the KIA Tigers have one fact that other KBO teams can envy. The point is that the starting rotation can only be made with native left-handed pitchers who are hard to find.
It is meaningful because they are players with competitiveness and potential, not just the number of players. All of the candidates were nominated for the first round or first round, and their potential was recognized early on. Yang Hyeon-jong (35, 2nd 1R in 2007), who is 3rd in career wins (159), 6th in innings (2161⅓), and 2nd in strikeouts (1814) among pitchers in the KBO League, is at the forefront, and Lee Eui-ri, the 2021 KBO League rookie king 21·2021 1nd nomination) follows that. The two were recently selected for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team and are currently leaving the KIA spring camp.
There are also promising players who have recently emerged as outstanding candidates and have emerged as starting candidates. Kim Ki-hoon (23, 2019 1st nomination), who scored zero points at the Armed Forces Sports Unit (Sangmu) and recorded an average ERA of 2.95 in 16 Futures League games, 6 wins and 2 losses, 85⅓ innings and 94 strikeouts Yoon Young-cheol (19, 2023, 1st 2R) is them.
On the 18th (Korean time) at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk said, “Kim Ki-hoon and Yoon Young-chul will go out in turn to play with the national team on the 19th.” We will rotate a five-man starting rotation with two players, Lim Ki-young, Kim Ki-hoon, and Yoon Young-cheol.”
While the manager’s first idea came out, there is another left-handed pitcher quietly dreaming of entering the starting rotation. This is Choi Ji-min (20), the national ace who led the unknown Gangneung High School to two national championships. Choi Ji-min was selected by the KIA as the 2nd round of the 2022 rookie draft with a total of 5 times in the 2nd round of the 2022 rookie draft with various changing balls, excellent control and game management skills despite a slow speed of 130 km per hour and a maximum speed of 143 km during Gangneung High School.
Scouts evaluated him as having the potential to become an ace with a little more restraint, but it was not easy. But Jimin Choi did it. He was dispatched to Geelong Korea this winter and experienced the Australian Baseball League (ABL). When the fast ball was installed, his performance began to come out. During 17 ABL games, he recorded an average ERA of 1.47 in 3 holds without a win or loss, and 19 strikeouts in 18⅓ innings, serving as Geelong Korea’s bullpen ace.
Choi Ji-min, who met at the KIA spring camp, said, “It was a really good experience for me. As I went through various things, such as the come and go strike zone and out of nowhere balk judgments, I thought, ‘Even if there is an unfair decision in Korea, my mentality can not be shaken.’ It felt like dealing with a foreign hitter in the KBO game (accompanied by achievements), which gave me an opportunity to gain confidence in my pitching. I am grateful to the general manager and team leaders who recommended going to Australia.”
Choi Ji-min, who increased his speed by 5 km in one year, aims to consistently throw more than 144 km. In addition, he is fully prepared to become a starting pitcher by adding a new curve to his pitching repertoire, which he learned from Geelong Korea pitching coach Son Jung-wook (33), Jang Jae-young (21, Kiwoom), and Kim Jin-wook (21, Lotte). Currently, he is only the 5th left-hander selection candidate after Yang Hyeon-jong, Lee Eui-ri, Kim Ki-hoon, and Yoon Young-cheol, but Choi Ji-min, who has been restrained, is good enough to challenge the next left-hander ace. This is why KIA is called the kingdom of lefties.
Choi Ji-min said, “I want to start as a starter later when the opportunity arises. However, the coach seems to think of it as a bullpen, and my goal is to still throw in the first team in any position.” It seems that everyone looks at it favorably while doing it. I hope that even when I go to Korea, I will continue to communicate well without losing my confidence.”