Seung-hwan Oh (Samsung) and Chang-yong Lim’s saves haven’t always been on solid ground. The closers who have made history for KIA must also overcome their current trials.
KIA closer Jung Hae-young has a 3-1 record with six saves and a 3.44 ERA in 20 games this season. That doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s hard to ignore his 1.58 WHIP and .297 batting average. According to baseball stats site Statiz, these are his worst numbers since 2021, when he began to establish himself as a closer. His 0.785 OPS and 5.78 FIP are also the worst since 2021.
From his debut in 2020, Jung has never been a pitcher who overpowered hitters with his velocity. Instead, he’s been a pitcher with good vertical movement and a lot of spin on his pitches, but this season, his velocity has dropped, and he’s barely been able to use it to his advantage. His average fastball velocity has dropped from 144.6 mph last year to 141.1 mph this year.
Unless you’re a veteran in your mid-30s or older with declining athleticism, the general rule of thumb is that you can increase your velocity with training. At 22 years old, Jeong needs to work on increasing his velocity if he can. In addition to training, he should also check his pitching mechanics. Kia officials didn’t hide their concerns about Jung’s declining velocity.
Sliders and splitters are his pitches of choice, but his BABIP is actually lower than last year. On the other hand, his fastball BABIP has skyrocketed from 0.250 last year to 0.400 this year. The key is to lower that number. However, in the long run, he needs to think about his pitches. Even as a closer, it wouldn’t hurt to improve the effectiveness of his two-seam, cutter, and other fastballs.
By demoting Jung to the second team at the beginning of the summer, when the battle for the top spot is heating up, KIA is trying to save him at all costs. The reality is that the team needs to find a rebound point in the first half to be able to compete in the second half. For KIA, a bounce-back game is essential.
Seung-hwan Oh and Chang-yong Lim, two of the best saves in KBO history, also had trials. Both underwent surgeries as young men, took time off, and came back. In their twilight years, they accepted their declining pitches and embraced change.메이저사이트
Jung is a closer who recently rewrote the Kia saves record books by recording more than 30 saves for the second straight year. The lack of variety in the lineup and the difficulty in raising pitch counts make it difficult to make a midseason pitching change. Furthermore, it’s not like KIA is short on starting pitchers. In the worst case scenario, a midseason switch cannot be ruled out.
They do have a decent closing option in bullpen ace Choi Ji-min, but it’s an untested scenario. The best-case scenario for KIA is that Jeong returns from his second-inning struggles and returns to the dominant closer he was in previous years.