LG wins a championship with right-hand man who traded for a promising prospect
July 31, 2023 | by bookmeforphotographers.com
“With Choi Won-tae joining the team, I felt like a blocked chest was ‘popped’ open.”
That’s what LG Twins manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said before their game against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on July 29. He didn’t hide his excitement about the new right-handed pitcher, Choi Won-tae.
LG, which hasn’t been to the top since winning the 1994 championship, has put together the final piece of the puzzle to challenge for the grand prix. In a surprise trade with the Kiwoom Heroes, the team acquired top-notch starting pitcher Choi Won-tae to bolster its starting rotation, which had been an Achilles’ heel. This solidified LG’s starting rotation and accelerated the team’s path to not only winning the pennant race, but also the Korean Series.
LG was a strong favorite before the season began. One of their biggest strengths was their starting pitching staff. The “foreign one-two punch” of Adam Plutko and Casey Kelly remained healthy this season, and the pitching tandem of Jung Woo-young and Lee Jung-yong-Koo was considered the best in the KBO. This, along with the batting order of 1-9, made LG the favorite to win the title.
When the lid was lifted, it wasn’t much different. Kelly had an unexpectedly slow start to the season, slipping to third place in the April race, but he really hit his stride in May when he took the lead. Meanwhile, in the bullpen, rookie Myung-geun Park exceeded expectations. In the bullpen, free-agent catcher Park Dong-won was the workhorse and was ready to take over.
However, there was a glitch. It was the poor performance of the domestic starting pitchers. While Lim Chan-kyu was the third starter with six wins in the first half of the season, other pitchers such as Lee Min-ho, Kim Yoon-shik, and Lee Sang-young struggled and the starting rotation was uneven. The second half was a must-win for the team, especially for the postseason.
LG has been dipping its toes into the water to find the final piece of the championship puzzle, and while several attempts have fallen through, a deal was recently struck during a training program for baseball managers in the U.S., when LG’s Cha Myung-seok made a surprise offer to Kiwoom’s Ko Hyung-wook. In exchange for Choi Won-tae, Kiwoom would receive infield prospect Lee Ju-hyung, right-hander Young-gun Kim Dong-gyu, and a first-round pick in the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft.
Since joining the Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) in 2015, Choi has been a consistent 3-5 starter. In 173 games as a starter, he has 66 wins. He also has a wealth of experience in fall baseball, including the wild card round, semi-playoffs, playoffs, and Korean Series.
Choi Won-tae made his debut against Doosan on July 30, the day after the trade. As soon as he changed into the LG uniform, he pitched six scoreless innings, throwing 75 pitches. “I think we can win seven more games in the second half of the season,” manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said, and Choi Won-tae responded with a win the next day. 토토사이트
As of the first day, LG is leading the standings with 53 wins, 2 draws and 33 losses. They started the second half of the schedule with a five-game losing streak, but recently swept a three-game series against Doosan to turn things around. The gap to second-place SSG Landers is 2.5 games.
Commentator Lee Sang-hoon said, “LG has been putting their prospects on the field.