The left-hander, who was discussing the best in high school baseball history, has been stagnant for three years as a professional.

It is about Lotte Giants Kim Jin-wook (21). Lee Eui-ri (KIA Tigers), a fellow student, has won the Rookie of the Year award since his first year of debut, and achieved 10 wins last year. This year, in its third year, there are ups and downs, but he has already won eight games by throwing a fastball of early to mid 150km. It is cruising toward 10 wins for the second consecutive year.

On the other hand, Kim Jin-wook’s reality is overwhelming. This year, the focus was on the bullpen, not the starting pitcher, from the spring camp. He focused on training, recalling the second half of the first season when he threw the best ball. One of the hardest-trained players selected by Lotte officials is Kim Jin-wook. Running, the basis of athletic ability, has never missed the top class in the team along with Choi Joon-yong.

In April this year, favorable reviews were poured out, saying, “It’s really changed.” He played 11⅔ innings in 10 games, with one win and three holds and a 0.00 ERA. However, cracks gradually formed from May, and collapsed again from June to July. The “Train to the 2nd Army” card didn’t work. Since returning to the first division on June 17, his performance has been 10 innings in 15 games and an ERA of 10.80. The team’s performance during this period is 10 wins and 17 losses.

His ERA in his first year of debut was 6.31 and 6.56 last year. It has already soared to 5.29 this year.

The same was true in the match against KIA Tigers in Gwangju on the 29th. Starter Lee In-bok took the mound with one out in the fourth inning after giving up two runs with an infield error and a sacrifice fly. It was still ‘sweat and sweat’. He was replaced after giving up a walk to pinch hitter Lee Chang-jin, a sacrifice fly to Park Chan-ho, and a walk to Choi Won-joon.

Commentator Yoo Hee-kwan, who was watching the game, could not hide his frustration. He said, “It’s full base, so you don’t have to care about the runner. I just have to focus on my ball, but I’m in a hurry. “The pitching form feels faster than usual,” he pointed out. That’s why I can’t control the ball properly.

After Park Chan-ho’s sacrifice fly, he said, “This is the score that needs to be given so far. “From now on, we have to stop it,” he said. The problem was Kim Jin-wook’s impatience.

“The breaking ball does not enter the zone at all. The batter is only aiming for a 100% fastball, but the only ball to throw is a fastball. So you can’t throw a strike (even straightforward). KIA hitters can throw away Kim Jin-wook’s breaking ball even if he enters the zone. The pitcher must throw the ball to the end and look. Kim Jin-wook’s pitch now feels like he’s throwing.”

Yoo Hee-kwan, commentator when he was an athlete. Sports Chosun DB
When the pitcher was replaced by Kim Sang-soo, calm came to Yoo’s commentary. He explained, “If you throw various breaking balls into the zone like Kim Sang-soo, it is difficult for the batter to attack.” As explained, Kim Sang-soo finished the inning lightly by handling KIA Kim Do-young, a tricky batter, with a catcher foul fly.

Yoo won 10 games for the eighth consecutive year with his sophisticated control, various breaking balls, and smart fights with batters even with a slow fastball of around 130km during his active career. Above all, he had the freedom to laugh even if the game didn’t go well. The voice of the KBO’s 101st win legend was filled with affection and regret for his junior, who has good talent but is struggling.

On this day, Yoo also gave important advice to Yoon Young-chul, who pitched six innings with one hit and no runs. “You have to practice so that you can throw a change-up against the left-handed batter.” He said, “Yoon Young-chul finds left-handed batters more difficult than right-handed hitters. “It’s because I can’t throw a change-up,” he said. “I didn’t know that when I was active.” “I realized it after I retired,” he said with a big smile.


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