A finishing pitcher with 32 saves in a 21-year-old season when his first national team failed. This is the story of Jung Hae-young (21), the closer of the KIA Tigers. Although his selection for the WBC national team was canceled, his future is bright.
With the announcement of the final list for the 5th 2023 WBC, which will be held in March this year, selection was expected, but unfortunately some were canceled. Representatively, KIA’s right-handed reliever Jung Hae-young is the main character.
Last season, Jung Hae-young appeared in 55 games and recorded 3-7 with an ERA of 3.38 and recorded 32 saves, which is third in the league. He recorded 30 or more saves for the second consecutive year following 34 saves in the 2021 season, and also broke the record for the youngest 50 saves in the KBO League.
As such, he had one of the best results among young relief pitchers, but the national team’s technical committee and coaching staff did not choose Jung Hae-young.
The 15 pitchers are veterans Kim Kwang-hyeon and Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA), as well as Won Tae-in (Samsung), Kwak Bin (Doosan), Koo Chang-mo (NC), So-Jun Sohn (kt), Ko Woo-seok, Kim Yun-sik, Jung Woo-young (LG), and Lee Yong-chan (NC). , Kim Won-joong-Park Se-woong (Lotte), Jung Cheol-won (Doosan), Ko Young-pyo (kt), and Lee Eui-ri (KIA).
Lee Eui-ri, who is one year younger than Jung Hae-young, was selected as the youngest player on the national team, and four relievers were listed on the roster, which is a relatively disappointing result.
At the same time, the proportion of relief pitchers in the team mound management strategy was small. National team coach Lee Kang-cheol plans to select a relatively large number of starting pitchers and use them by destroying positions, considering that there are restrictions on the number of pitches of 65 pitches in 4 games in the first round of the finals and the one-day break for pitches of 30 or more pitches. revealed If that happens, the range of use of the salvation team will naturally decrease.
In addition, the fact that Jung Hae-young’s proficiency in forkball and curve is relatively low compared to the selected relief pitchers seems to have been the background for the exclusion.
At a press conference on the 4th, national team coach Kang-Cheol Lee said, “Not most of the 15 pitchers selected this time, but we mainly selected players who are strong in international games. I have to go beyond the first game to advance to the next round, so I think of the first game against Australia as the first priority,” he said. “So I picked a pitcher who could be strong against Australia. According to the power analysis, it was found that Australia is weak in changing balls (with a large drop) and falling forkballs. If you look at the list, most of them have (that kind of) decisive pitches and are pitchers who are good at throwing large angles such as forkballs and curveballs.”
Jeong Hae-young also threw a splitter (13.5%) as the second breaking ball following the slider (21.4%) last season. However, the national coaching staff and technology committee seem to have taken into consideration the fact that Jung Hae-young’s proficiency in pitches such as forkball (splitter) is relatively low compared to selected relief pitchers Lee Yong-chan and Kim Won-joong, and he rarely uses curveballs.
In the end, Jung Hae-young was not selected due to various strategic choices, but it is clear that he is still the main player in the future national team mound generation change. The focus is on selecting veterans such as Kim Gwang-hyun, Yang Hyeon-jong, and Lee Yong-chan, but if you look closely, the national team’s mound is dominated by young players.
The next generation, 21-year-old Jung Hae-young, has already recorded an outstanding career in the league, so opportunities can come anytime. That time will come sooner or later.
It is the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games 메이저놀이터 (Asian Games), which has been postponed for a year due to Corona 19 and will be held in September this year, and the 2nd Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), which will be held in November. If Jung Hae-young continues to perform the same as last year or the 2021 season this year, his selection is a very powerful competition.
The Asian Games consist of 3 wild card entries regardless of age, centered on players under the age of 25 and under the age of 4, and the APBC is an international competition where only players under the age of 24 participate. If the WBC is relatively the same concept as the Baseball World Cup and sets up a starting entry centered on international competitiveness, the Asian Games selects a national team centered on some wild cards and new players, and the APBC is a stage where only young players are active.
And the image Jung Hae-young has shown so far is enough to become the center of the generational change of Gu Gu-jin of the national team in the future. It may be a pity that the individual player was not selected for the WBC, but at the same time, it may be a motivation for the selection of the Asian Games and the APBC national team. What is certain is that time is on Jung Hae-young’s side, and his future is very bright.