“I’m not looking for the same old thing.”
Ask anyone who made the strongest impact out of the KIA bullpen in the 2023 season, and most people would say Submarine Lim Ki-young (31). His first season as a professional bullpen pitcher was a strong one. He changed his grip on his changeup to make it untouchable. His 82 innings are the most by a pure reliever.
But there are other bullpen pitchers who have contributed as much as Lim. It’s right-hander Jeon Sang-hyun (27). He appeared in 64 games this season, the same number as Lim, and despite pitching only 58⅔ innings, he went 8-3 with a 2.15 ERA and 13 saves.
Jeon Sang-hyun was a member of the “Park Jong-gwon” system under the previous manager. He pitched a lot and performed well, but he also suffered from lingering injuries. In 2021, he returned to the field about a month into the season with shoulder pain and made only 15 appearances. In 2022, he also had elbow and shoulder issues that forced him to take some time off. In 50 games, he pitched 46⅓ innings.
This is actually the most games he has played since his debut. He was called upon a lot in the second half of the season, especially as Lim Ki-young tired a bit at the end of the season and Choi Ji-min went to the Hangzhou Asian Games. Despite his injury history, he only played 12 games in two consecutive weeks and one game in three. He finished the season healthy and under control.
In fact, he admitted that his pace was not good at the end of the first half, so coming back from Hampyeong to recharge helped him a lot. He also talked about being realistic, saying that it is important to find the optimal balance and delivery in the current state, rather than returning to the way he was when he was a professional.
“Your body is not the same as it was two or three years ago, and every player’s form changes a little bit every year. It’s never the same. He said that his body isn’t as mobile as it used to be, but he’s found the best pitching balance with his current body, and it’s paid off.
Instead, he took advantage of his long extension. According to baseball statistics site Statiz, Jeon’s average fastball velocity this season is 142.6 kilometers. While this is down from last year’s 143.1 kilometers, hitters have experienced better control and power than last year. Catcher Kim Tae-kun even called him a “tough pitcher,” which is a compliment to his aggressive approach to the strike zone. 토토사이트
He was drafted with the 38th pick in the 4th round of the 2016 KBO Draft and played 246 games. This is the fourth season he has reached the free agent threshold. It’s a blessing for KIA that he still has time to qualify for free agency. This year’s salary of 135 million won was well worth it, and along with Im Ki-young and Choi Ji-min, he will be well compensated. It’s hard to imagine a bullpen without Jeon in 2024.