19-year-old selection for ‘The Aesthetics of Slowness’, Will there be another ‘Rookie of the Tiger’?
Ahead of the opening of the 2023 KBO League, the KIA Tigers, who were considered candidates for the top 5, are showing dramatic moves at the beginning of the season. The team’s ranking is also greatly affected by the repeating streak of wins and losses. During a losing streak, even one win seems difficult due to disappointing performances, but once the streak starts, it shows an advantage even against top teams.
As of the 18th, KIA, which is in 6th place with a 16-17 win rate of 0.485, maintains a near 50% win rate. It is evaluated that Na Seong-beom and Kim Do-young, who are considered the nucleus of the other line, are doing well despite the long-term injury and departure. This is the reason for the optimism that KIA will rise to the top of the ranking fight when the injured players return and become a ‘complete group’.
One of the factors contributing to the KIA’s promotion this season is the performance of left-handed pitcher Yoon Young-chul, a rookie high school graduate. Yoon Young-cheol, who graduated from Chungam High School this year and joined the team as the 2nd pick in the 1st round, took on the role of the 5th starter and is recording 2 wins and 1 loss in the starting rotation. He has an average earned run average of 3.49 and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.652, complying with detailed indicators.
※ KIA Yoon Young-cheol’s 2023 season key records
▲ Key records of KIA Yoon Young-cheol’s 2023 season (Source: Baseball Records Office KBReport.com)
ⓒ KB Report
In the 6 games that Yoon Young-chul took the mound, the KIA is in good shape with 4 wins and 2 losses. When Yoon Young-chul, the youngest member of the team, comes on the mound, it is not an exaggeration to say that the KIA is a “victory fairy” because there are many games in which KIA wins by destroying the opponent’s ace. KIA added veteran lefty Yang Hyun-jong, lefty Lee Eui-ri, who won the Rookie of the Year in 2021, and Yoon Young-cheol to build a ‘lefty kingdom’. This is the part where the competitiveness of the KIA starters is revealed in the recent KBO league trend, where left-handed hitters have surged.
Yoon Young-cheol is a different type of left-handed pitcher than his seniors Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri. Yang Hyeon-jong boasted a fastball in his prime, and Lee Eui-ri, although somewhat disappointing in throwing, is putting forward the strength 메이저사이트of being a fireballer. On the other hand, Yoon Young-chul’s average fastball speed is 137.5 km/h, which is less than 140 km/h, making it difficult to classify him as a ‘left-handed fireballer’.
However, Yoon Young-chul allowed only one home run in 28.1 innings, and the average home run per 9 innings was very low at 0.31. His blood slugging percentage is also good at 0.321. He is proving his excellent ability to suppress long hits while using the hitter-friendly Gwangju KIA Champions Field as his home.
Yoon Young-cheol’s fastball does not stand out, but his pitch is considered heavy. Sharp breaking pitches such as sliders and changeups also support stable pitching. It is dispelling the stereotype that ‘a rookie pitcher has a fast ball but lacks the ability to use a breaking ball and is unstable in game management’.
▲ KIA Yoon Young-chul, who is considered a strong Rookie of the Year candidate
ⓒ KIA Tigers
With young pitchers on the rise in the KBO League this season, Yoon Young-chul is considered a strong candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. If Yoon Young-cheol wins the Rookie of the Year, the KIA will have a Rookie of the Year two years after Lee Eui-ri. The possibility of Yun Young-cheol being selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games national team is also being discussed.
However, since he was born in April 2004 and is 19 years old, he needs to think about how to manage Yoon Young-chul, who is not physically complete. At the current pace, Yun Young-cheol will start 26 games in his debut season and digest a whopping 123.2 innings.
Director Kim Jong-guk mentioned that he would give Yun Young-cheol a break through rotation in the future. However, it is necessary to keep an eye on how many innings KIA will eventually allow Yoon Young-chul to throw. Attention is focusing on whether Yoon Young-cheol will win the Rookie of the Year after continuing his good fight under systematic management and contributing to KIA’s advance into the postseason.