With about one-third of the pennant race completed, the rookie of the year competition is unfolding in an unpredictable flow. The fact that players who have met the qualifications for rookie of the year have been consistently showing off their presence in the first team means that the competition is fierce. In particular, the battle of pride between second-hand rookies and pure rookies is also adding to the interest.
After pitcher Lim Tae-hoon (then Doosan Bears), who was a rookie high school graduate in 2007, became the Rookie of the Year, from 2008 to 2016, junior and senior rookies monopolized the once-in-a-lifetime glory. However, with the appearance of large high school graduates such as Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) in 2017 and Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz) in 2018, the aspect has changed dramatically, and pure newcomers have been the main characters for five consecutive years, until Lee Eui-ri (KIA Tigers) in 2021. Last year, Jung Cheol-won (Doosan) was the first used rookie award in six years.
●Rookies Lee Yong-jun, Kim Dong-ju, and Moon Dong-joo stand out
This year, the pitchers stand out amid fierce competition. Among the players who meet the qualification requirement of ‘a pitcher who has pitched less than 30 innings within 5 years excluding the first year of joining’, Lee Yong-jun (21, NC Dinos), Kim Dong-ju (21, Doosan), and Moon Dong-ju (20, Hanwha Eagles). Lee Yong-jun and Kim Dong-ju joined in 2021 and Moon Dong-ju last year. All three of them are rotational starting resources and have a large proportion in the team.
Lee Yong-jun is recording 3 wins and 2 losses in 10 games, ERA 2.60, and Kim Dong-ju, 2 wins and 4 losses, ERA 3.23 in 10 games until the 7th. He was not guaranteed to enter the starting lineup even during spring camp, but he did not miss the opportunity that came due to the injuries of the existing starting pitchers. Moon Dong-ju, who is attracting attention as a fastball in the late 150 km/h range, is also doing well with 3 wins and 4 losses and an ERA of 3.53 in 10 games.
●Pure rookie Yun Young-cheol-Park Myeong-geun 2nd match, pay attention to Kim Min-seok too
If the difference in grades between junior and senior rookies is not large, it is common for pure rookies to get higher scores. The presence of Yun Young-chul (19, KIA) and Park Myung-geun (19, LG Twins) is as good as the aforementioned rookie pitchers. Yoon Young-cheol, who started the season as the 5th starter as soon as he joined, is recording 3 wins and 3 losses and an ERA of 3.08 in 10 games.
Yoon Young-cheol’s fastball speed is only in the early 140 km/h range, but his unique aggressive pitching and unflinching fighting cock temperament stand out. Despite his short stature of 174cm, Park Myung-geun overwhelms hitters with a quick ball that comes out of a simple and unique pitching form. The mentality that does not shake even at the finish line is also a strength.
Among batters,안전놀이터 Kim Min-seok (19, Lotte Giants) is the leader. He appeared in 44 games, batting average of .253, 1 home run, 19 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. It is a value that cannot be overlooked that he is the only hitter who meets the qualifications for the rookie of the year and is the only one who fills the required number of at-bats.