It was a stellar effort from the youngest member of the starting rotation. He pitched a perfect game, good enough for first place in the league, but couldn’t get the win.
Jang Jae-young (21, Kiwoom Heroes) started against the LG Twins in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium on the 11th.
Jang is the youngest member of the current Kiwoom starting lineup. He has bounced back and forth between starting and relieving over the course of the season, but has recently been making more appearances as a starter.
Kiwoom has high hopes for Jang’s potential. The 900 million won contract is proof of that. Since his days in Deoksugo, Jang has attracted attention for throwing a heavy fastball in the mid-150km/h range. If he can find stability in his somewhat shaky pitches, he could be one of the best pitchers in the league in the coming years.
However, it’s been a long time coming. It’s still a work in progress. However, he showed glimpses of potential in his 11th inning outing.
Jang faced an LG lineup consisting of Hong Chang-ki (right fielder), Moon Sung-joo (left fielder), Kim Hyun-soo (designated hitter), Austin Dean (first baseman), Oh Ji-hwan (shortstop), Moon Bo-kyung (third baseman), Park Dong-won (catcher), Kim Min-sung (second baseman), and Park Hae-min (center fielder). LG is currently in first place in the league (59 wins, 2 ties, 35 losses, and a winning percentage of 0.628) and boasts a stellar offense, leading the league in team batting average (0.281), hits (927), RBIs (487), and OPS (slugging percentage + on-base percentage, 0.760). This was a tough team for Jang Jae-young to play against.
Not only did he have to worry about his opponents, but also his own team. The team (42 wins, 3 draws, 60 losses, 0.412 winning percentage) had fallen to the bottom of the league after losing a day earlier (on the 10th). The team needed a win to turn things around, so Jang’s shoulders were even heavier.
When the lid was lifted, Jang Jae-young’s performance exceeded expectations. Jae-young’s fastball, which had been holding him back, was steady and his four-seam fastball reached up to 153 mph.
In the bottom of the first inning, Jang gave up a double to Moon Sung-joo and a walk to Kim Hyun-soo to put runners on first and second. He then got Austin to pop out to third, second, and first to get out of the jam.
In the bottom of the third, leadoff hitter Kim Min-sung’s shot was not caught by shortstop Kim Hwi-jip, allowing a runner to score, but he was able to block the next batter to keep the run off the board. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Austin’s big hit was caught by Kim Jun-wan against the fence, and he got through the inning with the help of his older brothers.
In the bottom of the fifth, he couldn’t overcome a big hit and gave up three runs, but overall he was solid. In the bottom of the sixth inning, he took the mound and retired the top four batters, Austin (strikeout), Oh Ji-hwan (grounder to center field), and Moon Bo-kyung (grounder to first base) to end the game. The final line was 6 innings, 4 hits (1 HR), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, and 3 earned runs, his first quality start (6 innings or less) and longest outing of his career. Of course, the team lost 3-5, but Jang stood out.
Kiwoom lost another game and are still in last place in the league. Nevertheless, it’s not over until it’s over. The season continues, and there are clear gains to be made along the way, not only in team performance but also in player development.스포츠토토
Jang Jae-young’s first quality start of the season will hopefully help him break into the first team, and his appearances will be crucial not only for him but also for the team.