Wed. May 31st, 2023

Can Ko Woo-seok (25, LG Twins), who recorded a career high last year, evolve a step further?

On the 16th, LG coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop said, “We will register Ko Woo-seok as a first-team entry on the 18th.” After being selected for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team held in March, he was unable to pitch due to phlegm.

Go Woo-seok became the king of salvation last year with 4 wins, 안전놀이터2 losses, 42 saves, and an average ERA of 1.48. However, director Yeom Kyung-yeop was not satisfied. Coach Yeom said, “There are relievers on our team who have a lot of pitches. Lee Jung-yong and Jung Woo-young sometimes throw close to 30 pitches in an inning. Woo-seok also finished and pitched a lot. There is only one reason. ” he pointed out.

According to baseball statistics company Sports 2I, Jung Woo-young used 91.9% of two-seam (two-seam fastball) last year at an average speed of 150.8 km per hour. As the batters were only looking for two-seam, the strikeout rate (K/9) per 9 innings was only 6.21. Lee Jeong-yong also showed high dependence on direct purchase last year (53.8%). He threw a slider (19.9%) and a curveball (19.1%) evenly, but it was hard to see either pitch as his main weapon.

Go Woo-seok’s main weapon is a fastball with an average speed of 152.5 km per hour (56.1% shooting rate) and a high-speed slider with an average speed of 145.7 km (24.2%). Last year, the 131.9 km/h fast curve (12.1%) added a sense of stability. 

The average number of pitches per inning for the three pitchers is not high. As of last year, Ko Woo-seok (average 16 districts), Jung Woo-young (16.1 districts), Lee Jeong-yong (16.5 districts) are all around 16 districts. 

The problem is an ‘accident’ that pops up once in a while. LG also lost in the playoffs last year as it failed to suppress in-play batted balls. Jung Woo-young, who took the mound in the 6th inning of the 3rd game, allowed a turnaround with an infield hit and a left-handed hit, and Lee Jeong-yong, who came up in a 4-3 situation in the 7th inning, hit a back-to-back home run and allowed a reversal. Even in the 7th inning of the 4th game, Jung Woo-young sent out 4 batters in a row without striking out, providing an excuse for defeat.

Director Yeom Kyung-yeop explained that there are limits to pitches. He said, “To go up to the top class, you need to make a decision ball with a high miss rate. A breaking ball that moves laterally has a high probability of getting caught in the swing trajectory. A decisive ball must fall from top to bottom. The percentage goes up,” he said.

However, it is difficult to say that director Yeom Kyung-yeop’s diagnosis is completely correct for Go Woo-seok. Ko Woo-seok recorded 11.87 strikeouts per 9 innings last year, ranking first among pitchers who threw 30% or more of the regular innings. Ko Woo-seok’s miss rate by pitch was also excellent, with a slider of 35.4% and a curve of 50%.

Evolution is not unnecessary. An Woo-jin (Kiwoom Heroes), who competed with Ko Woo-seok for first and second place in fastball last year, recorded 36.3% of swing misses with a slider despite throwing 196 innings, more than three times more than Ko Woo-seok. The slider up and down movement was 18.2 cm (2nd overall), which was larger than Go Woo-seok (10.8cm, 77th overall). Considering the difference in hitters’ familiarity, it can be seen that An Woo-jin’s slider was one step more powerful. This is because the up-down movement was greater than the left-right movement.

Ahn Woo-jin’s 4-pitch changeup also became his secret weapon with a miss rate of 46.1%. As Director Yeom Kyung-yeop said, the Jong-changing ball can be a clue for Go Woo-seok to evolve into a flawless finish.

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