There is great interest in how the positions of the 15 pitching staff will be decided at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held in March. The main character of the finishing pitcher who will crack down on the back door has not been fully confirmed.
The Korean baseball team had a solid closer. It is Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung Lions) who is the ‘final boss’.
Oh Seung-hwan was responsible for the back door of the national team by competing consecutively from the first WBC in 2006 to the 4th WBC in 2017.
Korea suffered the pain of being eliminated in the first round at the WBC in 2017, but Oh Seung-hwan, who was a major leaguer at the time, generously showed off the dignity of the ‘final boss’.
In the game against Israel, Seung-hwan Oh took the mound in the top of the 8th inning when the bases were loaded with two outs, and he overcame the bases loaded crisis and covered 1⅓ innings with one hit and no runs. Even in the last game of the first round against Taiwan, he struck out three and sealed two scoreless innings with no hits.
In the 2021 and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the finishing pitcher was Oh Seung-hwan. Head coach Kim Gyeong-moon, who was in charge of the national team at the time, selected Seung-hwan Oh as the closer. However, at the time, he lost face by collapsing with 2⅔ innings and 6 runs in 5 games.
Oh Seung-hwan’s name was not included in the final 30-man list of the WBC national team announced on the 4th. A generational shift is needed at this WBC.
Among the pitchers included in the 30-man roster of the national team, there are three players who play as closers for their team: LG Twins Ko Woo-seok, NC Dinos Lee Yong-chan, and Lotte Giants Kim Won-joong.
Ko Woo-seok is considered the most likely candidate for a new closer.
Ko Woo-seok, who wore an LG uniform as the first nomination in 2017, drew attention as a ‘post Oh Seung-hwan’ from the moment he debuted. It is because the bally ball, a straight ball, resembles Oh Seung-hwan’s heavy pitch.
Ko Woo-seok, who has been playing as a ‘professional finisher’ since 2019, earned 35 saves that year and was reborn as the league’s top finisher.
In 2021, Ko Woo-seok also achieved 1 win, 5 losses, 30 saves, and an average ERA of 2.17, and last year, he boasted a further evolution with 4 wins, 2 losses, 42 saves, and an ERA of 1.48. Last year, the King of Salvation also belonged to Go Woo-seok.
Ko Woo-seok, who recorded the youngest 30 saves in the 2019 season at the age of 21 years, 1 month and 7 days, took the record for the youngest 30 saves in the season. The record (24 years, 1 month, 26 days) was advanced by 5 days. 파라오카지노
Go Woo-seok was the 8th player to surpass 40 saves in a single season. His 42 saves tied with Jin Pil-joong in 2000 for the 5th most saves in a season.
For Go Woo-seok, who suffered pain at the Tokyo Olympics, this WBC is also an opportunity to take revenge.
Ko Woo-seok lowered his head in the semi-finals against Japan, the ‘fateful rival’ at the time of the Tokyo Olympics.
He induced a grounder to Gensuke Kondo of Japan in the 8th inning when the match was 2-2. It could have led to a double hit, but the batter runner survived as Ko Woo-seok, who entered the base cover, could not step on the first base properly.
Ko Woo-seok, who made a painful mistake, was shaken, and contributed a sweeping double in the 2nd run, providing an excuse for Korea’s 2-5 defeat.
As the national team ended up with no medals, Go Woo-seok’s regret deepened.
In the first round, Korea, which is in a group with Australia, Czech Republic, China, and Japan, will play against Japan on March 10th. Go Woo-seok emphasized, “I worked hard with the thought that I should improve further for two years with that match as an opportunity. If that time was not wasted, I think there will be good results. If we meet again, I will fight with confidence again.”
Lee Yong-chan and Kim Won-joong are also experienced closers.
Lee Yong-chan, who went back and forth between starting and finishing the Doosan Bears, was sluggish in 2019-2020, but after wearing an NC uniform in 2021, he was resurrected as a reliable finishing pitcher.
Lee Yong-chan, who recorded 16 saves in 2021 and achieved double-digit saves in 6 years after 22 saves in 2017 when he was in Doosan, played as NC’s built-in closer last year, recording 3 wins, 3 losses, 22 saves, and an average ERA of 2.08.
Kim Won-joong changed his position from 2020 to finishing pitcher.
Kim Won-jung, who succeeded in transforming into a finishing pitcher by collecting 25 saves in 58 games in 2020, won 35 saves the following year and ranked second in the save category. He recorded double-digit saves for the third straight year as he collected 17 saves this year as well.
Due to the nature of international competitions that are held in a short period of time, a ‘surprise finish’ may appear. National team coach Lee Kang-cheol showed an ever-changing strategy in the post-season in which he appoints the best card for each situation regardless of the existing bullpen line order or regular season performance at his team KT Wiz.
Coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “A middle or close pitcher may start. I will appoint pitchers regardless of position. have been emphasized