The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), which opens in March, is expected to be a stage to announce the generational change of the Korean baseball team’s left-handed ace.
The three reliable left-handers of the national team for a long time were Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays), Kim Gwang-hyun (35, SSG Landers), and Yang Hyeon-jong (35, KIA Tigers). However, they are already in their mid-thirties, and the need for the ‘next generation’ is gradually being demanded. Meanwhile, three left-handed starting pitchers in their 20s draw attention by attaching Taegeuk marks side by side.
Baseball team coach Lee Kang-cheol selected 15 pitchers while finalizing the WBC roster (30). Five of them are left-handed pitchers, and Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, who are the “national team leaders,” were named, and Gu Chang-mo (26, NC Dinos), Kim Yun-sik (23, LG Twins), and Lee Eui-ri (21, KIA Tigers) were also selected. Koo Chang-mo, Kim Yun-sik, and Lee Eui-ri will compete in the WBC for the first time.
Korea has achieved good results in international competitions thanks to the performance of its left-handed aces. 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal, 2009 WBC runner-up (Ryu Hyun-jin and Kim Gwang-hyun), 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games gold medal (Ryu Hyun-jin and Yang Hyeon-jong), 2014 Incheon Asian Games gold medal (Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong), 2015 Premier 12 winner (Kim Gwang-hyun), In 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games gold medal (Yang Hyeon-jong), 2019 Premier 12 runner-up (Kim Gwang-hyun, Yang Hyeon-jong), etc. Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Gwang-hyun, and Yang Hyeon-jong were all in charge of the mound.
For Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, this tournament is also the last stage for the national team. The Hangzhou Asian Games in September and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship in November are scheduled to be held, but there are age restrictions. It is also unlikely that the two pitchers will be selected as wild cards. 바카라사이트
Kim Gwang-hyeon and Yang Hyeon-jong are promising the beauty of the end of the world at the WBC, and left-handed young guns appear to succeed them. Chang-mo Koo, Yoon-sik Kim, and Eui-ri Lee, who have grown into left-handed pitchers representing the KBO League, are now expected to take over the title of left-handed ace through the WBC.
Koo Chang-mo, who suffered from frequent injuries, spread the wings of a brilliant comeback last year with 11 wins and 5 losses, an average ERA of 2.10 and 108 strikeouts. After the season, he signed a multi-year contract with the NC club for up to 7 years and 13.2 billion won.
Kim Yun-sik also achieved the best performance after his professional debut last year, including 8 wins (5 losses) and an average ERA (3.31) in the 3-point range with a sophisticated control and sharp changeup. In addition, he became an untouchable pitcher after September of last year, and pitched with a sense of stability in the postseason.
Lee Eui-ri, who won the 2021 Rookie of the Year Award, also showed off his outstanding skills, such as catching 161 strikeouts while winning his first 10 wins (10 losses) in his debut in his second season. It is said that his powerful fastball and sharp slider have been upgraded.
A baseball official said, “Ko Chang-mo, Kim Yun-sik, and Lee Eui-ri are all difficult pitchers for hitters to deal with. All three have in common that they are good at self-management and pitch thick pitches even at a young age.” When pitching, the swing is fast and the ball is heavy. Kim Yun-sik praised him, saying, “The ability to fight numbers with batters has improved remarkably.”
The WBC has rules that limit the number of pitches pitched by starting pitchers, so each team’s mound management is important. For this reason, there is a possibility that Koo Chang-mo, Kim Yun-sik, and Lee Eui-ri, who can throw long innings and have the advantage of being left-handed, will be used.
Kim Gwang-hyeon, who has been a member of the national team’s starting lineup for a long time, has emphasized that “juniors should now become the main pillar of the national team,” and that generational change must be successfully carried out at the WBC.
Lee Eui-ri expressed his strong aspirations, saying, “(As the seniors say), we must be able to surpass our seniors so that we can grow and Korean baseball can develop.” Goo Chang-mo, who is going back to the Tokyo Dome after the 2017 Asian Professional Baseball Championship, also showed a strong will, saying, “I am different from the me six years ago.”