139km → 148km dramatic speed-up recovered to its rotational power and returned to the powerful finish. KIA mound is expected to be complete

March 10, 2024 | by

KIA Tigers closer Jung Hae-young has found his speed and ball power perfectly in a year. He pitched as the last pitcher in the opening game of an exhibition game against the NC Dinos in the 2024 SOL bank KB0 league at Changwon NC Park on Sunday, and allowed one walk and no run in the first inning. With five home runs, the team won a landslide 10-3 victory.

New coach Lee Bum-ho also smiled from the first day of the official game. With a seven-point lead, he took the mound and displayed his powerful pitching. He threw fastballs at Park Young-bin, his first batter, on five consecutive pitches. The second pitch hit 148 kilometers, and led his swing and swing with a four-pitch 147 kilometers. In the last five pitches, he threw fastballs and led his bat to ground balls to shortstop.

In the game against No. 3 Park Gun-woo, he vigorously threw a first pitch of 148 km, which resulted in a foul. As three sliders did not fit properly, he eventually allowed a walk. However, he caught Kim Soo-yoon with a fly ball to center field by using four consecutive fastballs, and Choi Jung-won also threw a fastball to induce him to fly to center field, and finished the game. All of them lost their bats due to the strength of their fastballs.

He has already shown solid recovery potential in the actual game at the spring camp in Okinawa. In his first game at the camp, he threw a ball with an average speed of 144 kilometers per hour. Since joining the team, he has recorded 135-138 kilometers per hour, which was so good that I could feel the strength of the tip of the ball. “After the measurement, I recovered my rotational speed and rotation direction from side to side,” said Shim Jae-hak, head of the team.

As the game was canceled due to rain at the end of the camp, there was no more actual game. Instead, he pitched on the first day of the exhibition game and displayed faster ball power. Compared to last year’s exhibition game, his team showed a state of change of heart. According to the analysis team, his pitching speed at his first appearance at the exhibition game in 2023 was as low as 136 kilometers and as high as 139 kilometers. He also threw sliders 126-129 kilometers. He also posted slider speed of up to 133 kilometers on the day.

Since last year’s camp, his ball speed and speed have not risen, causing concern. He couldn’t warm up properly due to low temperatures in Arizona camp. Even though he moved to the second camp in Okinawa, his ball speed rarely rose. The maximum speed in the exhibition game was 140 kilometers. This trend continued even after the opening of the exhibition game, and continued to show sluggish performance until the end of May, when he joined the second team and had a month-long adjustment period.

He returned to the closing ranks and managed to secure the back door, recording 23 saves with an ERA of 2.92 for this season. Although he has maintained his pride to a certain extent, he still lacked the on-base percentage (WHIP) of 1.48 and the hit percentage of 277. Even after his return, his speed has not clearly increased. He has managed to survive by banking on his gut and cheek. He has failed to achieve 30 saves for the third consecutive year that he had hoped for.

After the end of the season, he started full-fledged speed recovery. He moved to Seattle in December in the U.S., where he was diagnosed through precise motion analysis at the Drive-in Baseball Center, and learned new training techniques. He also developed a pitching method in which he exerts pressure on the ball as much as possible while minimizing minor movements. The right arm’s movements have become simpler and faster. He underwent training steadily in the spring camp, and as a result, his speed and ball power have changed unexpectedly.

As the closing pitcher regains speed and ball power, Kia’s mound is expected to be fully occupied. It is certain that the five starting pitchers will be Will Crow James Nail, Yang Hyeon-jong, Lee Eui-ri, and Yoon Young-cheol. The bullpen session was dominated by Lim Ki-young, Choi Ji-min, Lee Joon-young, Jang Hyun-sik, and Jeon Sang-hyun, while Park Jun-pyo also had a strong chance to make a comeback, while left-hander Kwak Do-gyu and rookie Kim Min-ju also joined the team to gain strength. On top of that, the final round was the finishing touch. Personally, he not only became the youngest player to make 100 saves, but also gave birth to hope for his third 30 saves. There has been a significant positive development for Kia, which is aiming to win the championship 여우알바.


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