Yoon Young-cheol (19-KIA Tigers) is cruising to Rookie of the Year honors.
Yoon started the third game of a three-game weekend series against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 11, allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings. Despite being the losing pitcher in a 2-3 loss, Yoon’s performance was hard to fault.
Before the game, Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “Yoon Young-chul is a pitcher with really good control. He’s a rookie, but he controls his pitches like a veteran.” Lee had seen Yoon pitch for the youth national team on the entertainment program “Strongest Baseball” last year.
Yoon has a fastball that sits in the low 140 km/h range, but he has a great command of the strike zone and a deception (hiding his hands when pitching) that is difficult for hitters to read. For hitters, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between a fastball and a changeup.
Yoon proved why opposing managers were so wary against Doosan. He induced hits in all three of his at-bats against Doosan’s top hitters, including Yang Ji Kim and Jae-hwan Kim, and his changeup, which he threw to Kim in the bottom of the fifth inning on a 2-ball-2-strike count, was sharp enough to induce a false swing.
Yoon worked a “four-day rest schedule” (Tuesday-Sunday starts) for the first time in his career last week. He pitched seven innings of two-run ball against the SSG Landers on the 6th, and then threw two consecutive quality starts (QS-6+ innings, 3 earned runs) for the first time in his career against Doosan on the 11th. He’s taking meaningful steps forward with each outing.
As of the 12th, Yoon has appeared in 10 games. In 52 and two-thirds innings pitched, he is 3-3 with a 3.08 ERA. He has a 3.42 strikeouts per nine innings and a .234 batting average. Although he was pushed back twice in his debut and did not complete the required number of innings, he has performed well in his starting duties, going at least five innings in his last eight games.
Yoon’s performance is better than what his teammate Lee Yi-ri, 21, the 2021 KBO Rookie of the Year, showed in the same number of games (10) in his debut season. Back then, Lee was a consistent starter, but he had his ups and downs, giving up four or more runs on four occasions. Yoon was also slightly better in terms of strikeouts per nine innings, QS-wins, and ERA.메이저사이트
With just over a month to go before the All-Star break, the KBO Rookie of the Year race is a two-way tie between “second-year” Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles) and Yoon Young-chul. Both pitchers have a spot in their club’s starting rotation and have a three-run ERA in 10 games. Yoon is looking to become the third Tigers player to win the Rookie of the Year award, joining Lee Soon-cheol (now an SBS commentator) and Lee Yi-ri.