‘Bullpen Transformation’ 1st rounder Kim Ki-joong resolves Hanwha’s lefty worries? “It will be of many uses”

Hanwha’s third-year left-hander Kim Kwan-joong (21) took a successful first step with the bullpen. In the first appearance of the demonstration game, Hanwha coach Carlos Subero caught the eye. 

On the 21st, in an exhibition game먹튀검증 against SSG in Daejeon, Kim Ki-joong made a relief mound as the 4th pitcher in the 6th inning and perfectly blocked 1 inning with 2 strikeouts. SSG’s special left-handed batting line, which led to Han Yu-seom, Park Seong-han, and Choi Joo-hwan, was blocked. 

Kim Ki-joong, who started by striking out Hanyu Island on a swing with a curveball with a large drop, struck out Park Sung-han with a fly ball to left field and Choi Joo-hwan with a low fastball to the body. With a total of 18 pitches, he threw a curve and a slider (four more) centered on fastballs (10) with a maximum of 146 km and an average of 145 km. 

Coach Subero said of Kim Ki-joong ahead of the match against Doosan in Daejeon, which was canceled in the rain on the 23rd, “The drop in the curve came back when it was good. Fastball speed also improved. If there is that much left-handed pitcher on the team, it is bound to be of high use.” 

Kim Ki-joong, who graduated from Yushin High School and joined Hanwha in the 2nd overall in the 2nd round in 2021, recorded an average ERA of 4.70 with 2 wins and 4 losses in 15 games (53⅔ innings) in the first year. He showed potential by getting a chance as a starter, but struggled last year with an average ERA of 6.00 in 5 games and 2 losses in the first team. 

This year, he is preparing to change his position to the bullpen, not the starter. He did not make it to the 1st team spring camp, but at the 2nd team Futures Camp, he was guided by pitching coach Park Jeong-jin, a former left-handed bullpen. 

He prepared for the season by receiving the know-how of a bullpen pitcher from coach Park Jung-jin, and was called up to the first team on the 15th. In his first appearance, he left a strong impression with the bullpen, completely blocking left-handed hitters. 

Until the beginning of the demonstration game, Hanwha had only two left-handed pitchers in the team, Jung Woo-ram and Kim Beom-soo. When Kim Bum-soo went to finish, there was only one left-hander who could be used in the middle, making it difficult to have variety in bullpen management. 

Coach Subero also said, “I tested a lot of lefties over the past two years, but the lack of a lefty bullpen is still a weakness,” and said it was one of the concerns. However, Kim Ki-joong, who has prepared well in the 2nd team, seems to be able to solve coach Subero’s left-handed bullpen concerns.

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