Kim Jae-yoon (32, KT Wiz) is now a ‘mid-level’ finishing pitcher. Excluding 2019, when he briefly gave up his position to Lee Dae-eun (retired), he was entrusted with the task of guarding the back door for the 6th season this year. Among the finishing pitchers for 10 clubs in the 2022 season, Seung-hwan Oh (Samsung Lions) Lee Yong-chan (NC Dinos) has the third longest pitching power. His career saves (137) are also ranked 11th all-time.
In the team, Park Si-young left due to injury and Ahn Young-myeong retired, so he became the best pitcher in the team. Kim Jae-yoon paid more attention to his juniors than ever before, and we talked often. In addition, he realized that he had reached an age where he had to pay more attention to taking care of his body.
To Kim Jae-yoon, the rapid growth of young pitchers is a kind of stimulus. In particular, I admired the performances of Go Woo-seok (LG Twins) and Jung Hae-young (KIA Tigers), who had the same position.
Kim Jae-yoon said, “It’s not strange that young pitchers in their early and mid-20s are better at pitching. However, the two pitchers (Ko Woo-seok and Jung Hae-young) seem to be really good at managing their mentality. Even though relatively young players take on the heavy responsibility of finishing pitchers, they are so good. It’s really amazing to be able to pitch strong,” he raised his voice. Then he laughed, saying, “Seeing that kind of appearance, I am also stimulated. ‘I want to do better.’
Kim Jae-yoon recorded 33 saves this season. He broke a career high and ranked in the top 3 in the individual performance category for the first time in his debut, ranking second in the league. The hit rate, which was 0.232 in the 2021 season, fell to 0.190, and the on-base per inning rate, which was 1.21, was also lowered to 1.01.
However, his earned run average rose from 2.42 to 3.26. Weak in scoring. His batting average, which was 0.184 last season, rose to 0.241. He failed to complete the mission even in an important game at the end of the season. In the final game of the regular season against the LG Twins, Oh Ji-hwan got a final hit. In the first game of the semi-playoff (PO) against Kiwoom Heroes, Lim Ji-yeol hit a two-run home run.
Kim Jae-yoon looked back on the 2022 season, saying, “There was a game where I couldn’t keep the lead in an important game, so I have a lot of regret. That’s why I can’t dwell on the save record. I need to show more stable pitching.” 안전놀이터
KT struggled with the sluggishness and injuries of the main bullpen pitchers in the first half. Because of that, there were many games where Kim Jae-yoon took the mound before the ninth inning. It is possible that accumulated fatigue had an impact at the end of the season. Regarding this, Kim Jae-yoon said, “Depending on the situation and circumstances, the number of appearances or innings can increase. There is no bullpen pitcher who is not physically tough at the end of the season. Rather, through the experience of this season, I thought that I should pay more attention to body care.” did.
If you add just three saves, Kim Jae-yoon enters the top 10 in the career save category. He can be recognized as a finishing pitcher representing the history of the KBO League. Jaeyoon Kim now set his goals high. In the 2023 season, he aims for his save title. He said, “Every year I step closer to the title. I finished second this year, so next year I want to become the world’s greatest saver. I’m not just going to build records, I’m going to be a close-in pitcher who has good game content and keeps the lead well in important games.” he said forcefully.