Chun Hyang, the closer pitcher, has become a godsend in his career. Lotte’s “long-haired closer” Kim Won-joong (30) turned into a closer and enjoyed the honor of reaching the Taegeuk mark for the first time in his life.
On the 4th, the KBO announced the final list of 30 players who will participate in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held in March. The joining of active major leaguers such as Tommy Edman (St. Louis), Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh), and Kim Ha-seong (San Diego) drew attention, and Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom), who is still not free from controversy over school violence, was eventually excluded from the list.
There are some players who will be on the stage of the first adult national team, including Kim Won-joong. Kim Won-jung, who joined with the 5th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2012 rookie draft, debuted in the 1st team in 2015 due to a shoulder injury and military service. He has been a starter since 2017, but it was disappointing. He showed the possibility with an average ERA of 5.70 in 24 games, 107⅓ innings, 7 wins, 8 losses in 2017, but in 2018, 30 games, 145⅓ innings, 8 wins, 7 losses, an average ERA of 6.94. Eventually, he dropped out of the starting lineup at the end of the first half of 2019 and finished the season by switching to the bullpen from the second half.
Kim Won-joong, who confirmed his competitiveness in the bullpen, faces a turning point in his career ahead of 2020. At the recommendation of the club, he was given the position of finishing pitcher, and he quickly made a soft landing. He recorded 25 saves in 2020 and 35 saves in 2021. Last year’s injury delayed the start of the season, but he earned 17 saves. Kim Won-joong, who matured with competitiveness as a closer, was eventually selected for the first team in his life.
Immediately after the national team roster was announced, Kim Won-jung, who contacted OSEN, said, “It’s an honor to be selected for the first time in the national team, and I feel like I have to go and do well and come back.”
It was glorious, but comparatively indifferent. As both the Yeongnam United Team and the KBO National Team were listed on the MLB World Tour roster that was scheduled to be held last year, expectations were hinted at for the national team. Also, at the time, there was a rumor that the World Tour roster would lead to the WBC national team. Kim Won-joong said, “There was talk like that during the world tour. But it was just ‘I guess so’. It’s not like I can go just because I want to go, and I don’t think I should go excitedly just thinking about it. It’s to the point of ‘wouldn’t I go if something good happens’? It was my heart,” he said.
He transformed from a starting pitcher to a finishing pitcher and eventually enjoyed the glory of the first national team. He said, “I think the good thing about being selected for the national team is that I have adapted well to the position of finishing pitcher. I think I should stand on the mound with a stronger appearance in the future.”
As he was already in coach Lee Kang-chul’s idea, he received the WBC official ball early on. The KBO gave pitchers who were likely to be selected for the national team early on the WBC official ball so that they could adapt quickly. He explained, “I think it’s definitely different when I touch it. I think I can feel it when I throw the ball properly.” 메이저사이트
In 2017, at the time of the Asia Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), which consisted of players under the age of 23 and under the age of 3, Kim Won-joong was included in the preliminary entry and expected to be selected, but was eliminated. To that extent, the Taegeuk mark was an object of longing for Kim Won-joong. He said, “It was unfortunate at that time,” and said, “The national team is an honorable position, and I feel a sense of responsibility to prepare well.”
As he is the first national team player, he has a great desire to learn this and that. He explained, “Since Korea’s best players are gathered, I want to hear advice from the older brothers, and if I ask the hitter hyungs, I get immediate feedback, so I want to find something to learn.” He also added, “I want to try and experience my patterns and balls while dealing with foreign players.”
They are determined to wear the Taegeuk mark for the first time. And he has not forgotten his duty as Lotte’s closer. Kim Won-joong said, “I’m going out on behalf of Lotte, so I think it would be nice to contribute to making good grades by doing well so as not to become a nobody.” I think I have to let it go,” he said forcefully.