Moon Dong-joo (20, Hanwha Eagles), a “monster” who is receiving the most attention in the league with his powerful fastball that records a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour. The KBO League will have a pennant race until October, but Moon Dong-joo’s season will end in August. What kind of story is this.
In Game 10 of the season against the 메이저놀이터 LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on the 12th, Moon Dong-joo pitched five hits, one walk, five strikeouts, and one run in 7⅓ innings, and harvested his sixth win (6 losses) of the season.
Moon Dong-joo, who debuted last year, suffered injuries and ups and downs and is taking a step forward this season. He has played 83 innings in 16 games and is playing his first full-time season well. The ERA is also 3.47, the second lowest among the team’s starters after Felix Peña (2.83).
On this day, it was only a flaw in the jade that he pitched overwhelmingly until the seventh inning and shook somewhat as the number of pitches exceeded 100. Moon Dong-joo threw 108 pitches, exceeding the previous highest number of pitches (101 pitches) on-the-spot pitches (101 pitches).
It is ironic that the season of such a treasure-like pitcher is limited. Head coach Choi Won-ho met with reporters at Jamsil Stadium on the 11th and said, “If Moon Dong-joo takes the mound tomorrow (12th), he plans to use about seven games in the second half,” adding, “If he throws normally because it doesn’t rain, it will end around the last week of August.” “If it rains, it may be delayed a little, but we plan to make them throw 115 innings to a maximum of 120 innings,” he said.
Director Choi Won-ho is well known as a studying leader. He earned a master’s degree in physical education and a doctorate in kinetic mechanics from Dankook University, and established the “Choi Won-ho pitching research institute” to strengthen his position as a pitching expert before starting his leadership career. He is also a pitcher who has been active in the professional league for 14 seasons.
He is a leader who understands pitchers better than anyone else. Therefore, he also knew clearly what it took for the rising star to shine on Korea to play for a long time.
Coach Choi said, “Even if I throw about 10 innings in the Asian Games, it will be okay to make it less than 130 innings,” adding, “After the end of August, there are about three weeks left until the tournament, so compared to the players who take the mound in the Korean Series.” It will be more comfortable for you. “Usually, after going straight to the Korean Series and resting for about three weeks, the ball gets much better,” he said.
He decided that management is needed because he is still in the process of growing after his first full-time season. With the victory, Hanwha jumped to eighth place and tied for fourth place NC and Lotte only have three games, so it may not be easy to end ace Moon Dong-joo’s season early even in autumn baseball.
Coach Choi said, “Moon Dong-joo, who played his last appearance schedule in the first half, pitched perfectly until seven innings and threw 108 pitches, the most individual, and was responsible for one out in the eighth inning. Coach Choi praised after the game, saying, “I had a plan to take Moon Dong-joo for a long time today because I am resting for the next two weeks, but he came up to the eighth inning and pitched hard with the minimum number of runs.”
What would Moon Dong-joo think about the early closing of the season. “I didn’t think about it because I had a game today,” he said. “In fact, I don’t think it’s a situation where I can control my condition.” “I think we can do our best in the given situation,” he said in a textbook answer.
In addition, Choi believes that young and promising pitchers should be appointed as starters. Rookie Kim Seo-hyun (19), who showed his desire to finish based on a ball with a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour, went down to the second division due to a slump at the beginning of the season and is giving him a starting class.
Coach Choi said before the game on the 11th, “Starting as a starter and building on various experiences, it is much more likely to succeed even if you switch to the bullpen later on.” If you play bullpen from the beginning, you can’t experience various things. I don’t experience a crisis situation. “It’s because the bullpen doesn’t let you go through a crisis,” he said. “Also, one of the many virtues of starting pitchers is a healthy body.” That’s why it’s most ideal for young pitchers to join the starting lineup, he said.
He played three games as a starter in the Futures League, and in particular, he pitched well in 5⅔ innings, striking out seven and allowing one run, emerging as one of the five starting candidates in the second half. Coach Choi said, “(Kim) Seo-hyun is scheduled to take the mound on Thursday (13th), and he is thinking about the results. “We plan to use the better player of the two with Jang Min-jae,” he said.
Ideally, Kim Seo-hyun will fill the position after September when Moon Dong-ju will be away. Since Kim Seo-hyun has a common denominator in that he is a right-handed pitcher spraying fire-like fastball, it is expected that the gap will be minimized if he makes a soft landing.