Baek Jeong-hyun, the ‘141km Efficiency Ender’ and Park Jin-man, the ‘Won Tae-in’ Manager, Wanted This Pitcher

“It’s much more efficient to strike out three batters with three pitches than it is to do the KKK with nine pitches.”

His fastball topped out at 141 mph. But speed is not an absolute requirement to be a good pitcher. Baek Jung-hyun, 36, of the Samsung Lions, is the epitome of Park’s ideal pitcher.

On April 25, Baek started the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul and threw 87 pitches over eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three.

The only disappointment for Baek was that he was unable to get enough run support to secure the win with key hitters out with injuries.

On April 16 against the KIA Tigers, Won Tae-in pitched six innings of one-run ball but was hit by a home run for the sixth straight game. The next day, manager Park Jin-man pointed out that it was more of an effect than the home runs, and that he was throwing more pitches early on to avoid them.

“You have to throw pitches that you’re confident in, but also pitches that are within the range of what the batter can hit,” Park said. “There’s a lot of difference between a strike and a ball, so you have to throw a lot of pitches early on.” The emphasis on matching pitches came in the same vein.

Unfortunately for the national team pitcher, the 36-year-old veteran also has a powerful weapon. Baek Jung-hyun, who has rebounded this season, exemplified the “ideal pitch” that Park emphasized.

His fastball reached a maximum speed of 141 kilometers per hour and averaged just 138 kilometers per hour. In a KBO league that features pitchers with 160-kilometer fastballs, Baek’s velocity was unremarkable, which makes his resurgence this season all the more relevant.

Even with the ‘not-so-fast’ fastball, Baek was confident. He threw nearly half of them for 47 runs. His strike rate was a whopping 74.5% (35/47). This shows how powerful a well-pitched ball can be.

Doosan batters swung at pitches with purpose. They seemed to recognize that this was the best way to deal with Baek’s aggressive approach to the strike zone.

However, the results were disappointing. Doosan batters took advantage of Baek’s fastball nine times, but only two of them resulted in hits.

He also struck out just three times. He’s not the type of pitcher to get a lot of strikeouts, but he didn’t have to work too hard to get them. Throwing pitches around the strike zone, the Doosan hitters really came out swinging, and I was able to get through the inning with ease.

I threw 25 pitches with my changeup and 15 and 14 pitches with my curve and slider, respectively. I got three strikeouts (two with my changeup and one with my slider) with pitches that dropped low. He had a knife-edge delivery that crossed the borderline, and Doosan hitters had no choice but to swing at it if it looked like a strike.

After a career-high season in 2021 with a 14-5 record and 2.63 ERA, Baek stayed with Samsung as a free agent for four years and 3.8 billion won, but struggled last year with a 4-13 record and 5.27 ERA. Has he grown as much as he has suffered? This season, he has rebounded with a 3-3 record and 2.80 ERA in eight games. In particular, his performance in four games since the 30th of last month against KT Wiz is overwhelming with two wins and a 1.04 ERA.메이저사이트

He is a quiet player, but he is sending a message to young pitchers with his example pitching that is more powerful than a hundred words. Coach Park, who always says, “I’m not a pitcher,” when it comes to pitching, can’t help but be encouraged by Baek Jung-hyun, who is on his way to becoming the ideal pitcher.

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