It’s as expected. A number of rookies who have received a lot of attention since the draft are quickly active on the professional stage. Overall, Hanwha Kim Seo-hyun, 2nd place KIA Yoon Young-chul, and 3rd place Lotte Kim Min-seok all show their potential in the first team. SSG Song Young-jin, 15th overall, Park Myung-geun, LG, 27th overall, and Moon Hyun-bin, Hanwha, 11th overall, have already played an important role in their team and are predicting that they will become the face of the team in the future.
However,안전놀이터 when it comes to Rookie of the Year, there is a separate lead. They are right pitcher Moon Dong-ju (20), a 2nd year Hanwha player, and Lee Yong-jun (21), a 3rd year NC right pitcher. As starting pitchers, both of them rotated steadily and performed at an ace level. Moon Dong-ju had an average ERA of 2.28 with 2 wins and 2 losses in 5 games and 27.2 innings. Lee Yong-jun is recording an average ERA of 1.14 with 2 wins and 0 losses in 23.2 innings in 5 games (4 starts).
At this point, when the first month of the pennant race has passed, it is clear that the two will compete if the Rookie of the Year vote is held. In the WAR (contribution to victory versus substitute players: refer to Stats) targeting rookie of the year candidates, Dong-ju Moon is leading with 1.01 and Yong-jun Lee with 1.21.
The value of a starting pitcher cannot be overemphasized. This is especially true in the KBO League, where native starting pitchers are always lacking. Eui-ri Lee in 2021 and So-Jun Sohn in 2020 were also awarded bonuses for being their starting pitchers. He pitches once a week, but is the most influential position in the game and is the target of opponent power analysis. So, it is a big help to the team just by digesting about 100 innings stably for a year.
If there are no variables such as injuries, both Moon Dong-ju and Lee Yong-jun can play 100 innings. This is because he has diversity, which is an essential requirement for a starting pitcher.
Moon Dong-ju, who recorded the highest speed of 160.1km for a native player in the KBO League, is not just a fast pitcher. He is also good at curves and sliders and knows how to run the game with them. In the game against KT in Daejeon on the 7th, when the fastball was somewhat shaken, he used the curve and slider as the deciding ball to keep the mound. After two strikes, he threw two breaking balls aggressively and won the starter. If you add perfection to the changeup you acquired last year, you will have all the weapons.So is Lee Yong-jun. Although his fastball speed is not as fast as that of Dong-ju Moon, his breaking pitch is not inferior to that of Dong-ju Moon. He knows how to play an irregular game with a powerful fastball while shaking the timing of hitters with a large slider and changeup. In addition to the ERA in the 1-point range, the WHIP (on-base percentage per inning) is in the 0-point range (0.89). As Lee Yong-jun played an active part, foreign starter Taylor Widener’s injury and departure were naturally made up for in NC. Even until the camp, he was selected as one of the 5 starting candidates, and the hidden card prepared by Widener’s departure during the exhibition game became a strong ace card.It’s always nice to see new faces. Especially if that’s a starting pitcher. It can be the answer to the pitching problem pointed out in each international competition. The KBO League also needs to break away from its reliance on foreign pitchers. As in Japanese professional baseball, real level improvement will be achieved when pitchers who play the role of ace or one-two punch are filled with native players. This is why more attention is focused on the strong fighting march of Moon Dong-ju and Lee Yong-jun.