Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Ahn Woo-jin (24‧ Kiwoom) changed the name tag of ‘unfinished waiting’ to ‘the best pitcher in the league’ last year. Legendary retired seniors and top-notch pitchers who dominate active duty all acknowledged An Woo-jin’s coronation. It was so overwhelming. It is even said that he is the best right-handed stuff in KBO league history.

An Woo-jin pitched 메이저놀이터 196 innings in 30 games last year and dominated the league with an outstanding record of 15 wins and 8 losses and an ERA of 2.11. He was no longer the old Ahn Woo-jin, who would throw the ball if he waited or miss a pitch and collapse on his own. Hitters had to give up a lot and focus only on the pitch and course they were aiming for. Even so, it was difficult to get a hit against An Woo-jin. When he was cornered by 2S, he often struck out with high probability.

The general opinion is that this kind of Ahn Woo-jin’s pitching works well enough in the major leagues. It is acknowledged by major league scouts. In most of the 30 clubs, it is easy to join the starting rotation itself, and if you go to a team with a slightly weaker rotation, it is evaluated that it is possible to make a ‘3rd selection’. This is a point that Lotte coach Larry Sutton, Hanwha coach Carlos Subero, and Choo Shin-soo, who recently experienced in the major leagues, Kim Gwang-hyun (above SSG) and Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA) both acknowledge.

However, there are indicators that An Woo-jin’s four-seam fastball pitch has become more powerful than last year. Despite throwing over 200 innings including his postseason, his shoulders did not cool down. He has recovered well and is drawing a virtuous cycle in which his pitching position becomes more powerful as he fully masters the art of throwing. If you look at the fastball itself, it may be the best ever in the KBO League.

According to the analysis of ‘Trackman’, which provides tracking data to 9 KBO league clubs, An Woo-jin’s fastball has increased velocity, improved rotational speed, and even improved vertical movement. In fact, he was a detailed indicator that was not bad just looking at last year, but this year it has evolved more. This can be a factor explaining An Woo-jin’s almost perfect start this season (1.23 ERA, 59 strikeouts in 44 innings in 7 games).

The average speed of An Woo-jin’s four-seam fastball counted last year was 152.9 km. Never before has a starting pitcher posted such average velocity in the KBO League. However, this year, although it is early in the season, this average has risen to 155.2 km. As measured with the same equipment, you can read a definite improvement in velocity. The best restraint is his junior, Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha), but when it comes to average, Ahn Woo-jin has the upper hand. In addition, An Woo-jin can deliver this restraint even after 100 pitches.

The number of revolutions per minute (RPM) has increased from 2500 to 2569 this year. As Ahn Woo-jin said before the season, it improved with vertical movement. He slightly tweaked the form in the process of separating the arms, and he feels that the vertical movement has increased thanks to it. The ball, which would have gone low in the past, now passes through the strike zone. An Woo-jin’s feelings were correct. He also improved his vertical movement by more than 5 cm.

However, it is not that the form has been modified unreasonably. Release points and extensions are not much different from last year. The overall pitching balance is maintained. Ahn Woo-jin, who has gained confidence, now throws a fastball into the high zone. The percentage of high-fastballs that pass through the center of the strike zone was 6.7% last year. However, this year it has increased to 9.3%.

Of course, such a change in proportion is possible because the results are good. Last year, the swing rate of this course was less than 50%, but this year it is over 70%. The use of the right-handed hitter’s in-high zone and the proportion of miss swings also increased. Because it is close to the batter’s eyes, the swing comes out because the ball comes alive. The overall fastball hit rate also went down from 0.221 last year to 0.197 this year.

If you convert the average speed of An Woo-jin’s fastball into miles, it comes out to be about 96.43 miles. As of the 8th, there are only 10 major league starting pitchers with average velocity higher than this. Even in the major leagues, velocity is top-class, and the number of revolutions and vertical movement are further developed. He thought that if he looked at the position itself, he would have nothing to evolve further, but Ahn Woo-jin laughs at this view. Now may be the time to accept the modifier “monster” without disagreement.

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