Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Won-tae Choi takes the mound in a striped uniform. One day after being traded.

Choi Won-tae will start the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against Doosan on Tuesday at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.스포츠토토

LG and Kiwoom made the big trade on the morning of the 29th. Starting pitcher Choi Won-tae was sent to LG, while “prospects” Lee Ju-hyung and Kim Dong-gyu and a 2024 first-round draft pick went to Kiwoom.

Choi Won-tae began his professional career in 2015 with the first round pick of the Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) and has appeared in 184 games over eight seasons with a 66-48 record and a 4.27 ERA through 30 games.

While he established himself as a homegrown “ace” early in his career, collecting double-digit wins in three straight seasons from 2017 to 2019, the last three years have been far from 10 wins.

This year, however, has been different. Despite being in the bottom half of the standings, Ki has had his best first half of the season, going 6-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 17 games. Ten wins were within reach.

Then came Choi Won-tae to LG. It’s clear why LG wanted him. He’s a winner. Although they are currently in first place, they have been struggling with four or five starters all season. They’ve given a lot of players a chance, but none of them have been able to find a spot.

Choi Won-tae has earned a spot. Coach Yeom Kyung-yeop was overjoyed, saying, “The blood is flowing.”

And Choi Won-tae will start right away. On the 30th, against Doosan. Adam Plutko was out of the rotation with a cold, so Choi Won-tae was set to make his LG debut. Won-tae Choi’s last start was on the 23rd, so he should be fine to start on seven days’ rest. He went five innings against Lotte, giving up four runs (four earned) on six hits with two walks and one strikeout.

This season, he hasn’t fared as well, going 2-2 with a 5.09 ERA in 17⅔ innings in three appearances against the Dusan. No wins yet.

However, there is a big difference between Ki and LG in terms of team batting average. Kiwoom ranks ninth with a .252 average, while LG has a .284 average. They have been at the top of the team batting average all season.

This takes a lot of pressure off Choi Won-tae. On the 29th, they came from behind to clinch the series. Now, the team will look to complete the sweep with Choi Won-tae leading the way.

“I feel pressure, but everyone has it,” said Choi Won-tae. It’s important to adapt quickly,” he emphasized.

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