Short but bold strokes… Generational change on the SSG mound, hopes raised by two rookies

Short but bold strokes… Generational change on the SSG mound, hopes raised by two rookies

SSG pitchers threw 1288⅓ innings across the entire regular season this year. The team ERA of 4.37, which was below the league average (4.14), was a problem, as was the fact that the proportion of players in their 20s was significantly lower than that of other teams. To put it bluntly, they didn’t catch anything now, and they didn’t leave much data for the future.

Excluding the two foreign players, the total number of innings played was 1027. Players in their 20s, or those born after 1994, pitched a total of 417 innings. That’s 40.6% of the total, or less than half. A significant portion of those 417 innings, about 35%, were accumulated by Oh Won-seok (144⅔ innings). It’s hard to say that Oh Won-seok is a new player this year. It symbolizes that the generational transition on the SSG mound is not going to be easy.

Still, there was a silver lining. Lee Roon (19) and Song Young-jin (19), who were drafted by the team in the 2023 rookie draft, have appeared side by side since the beginning of the season. Lee was a first-round pick and Song a second-rounder, and despite some ups and downs along the way, they spent the majority of their time with the first team from Florida camp in February through Game 3 of the semifinals in October. In that time, Lee logged 57⅔ innings and Song 47⅓ innings, not bad for a high school rookie.

Expectations were high from the start of camp. In February, SSG broke the mold of not bringing rookies to spring training and put Lee and Song in front of manager Kim Won-hyung. The two pitched above and beyond Kim’s expectations, surviving both the Okinawa scrimmage and exhibition game tests to earn a spot in the opening day lineup. Song worked his way up to a backup role, while Lee was utilized in a similar fashion as a late-season closer, making for a memorable debut season.안전놀이터

In terms of objective performance, it wasn’t a long or brilliant stroke. After a surprise start to the season as a substitute starter and a long stint in the second team due to a lack of fitness, Song went 3-3 with a 5.70 ERA in 17 games. It was unfortunate that she couldn’t maintain her early momentum. He came back at the end of the season to help out, but his usage was limited due to the complexity of the team’s performance.

Iroh was only with the second team for ten days of the season, so he was trusted by the first team coaching staff and gained a lot of experience – 57⅔ innings in 50 games. His underlying record of 6-1 with 5 holds was excellent. His stamina down the stretch was remarkable. However, his ERA remained at 5.62. He had some ups and downs, and a high batting average (.289) for a guy who throws a 150 mph fastball. He had good stuff, but he didn’t utilize it properly.

However, it was a pretty bold stroke, even if it wasn’t short or outstanding. Until May 13, Song had won three starts. It was the first time a high school rookie won his first start in the Wyverns-Landers franchise since Lee Seung-ho, the current SSG pitching coach, in 2000. Basically, he can throw a ball in the mid-to-high 140s with a natural sinker or cutter movement, which impressed many onlookers. There is a lot of hope that he can be a good starting pitcher with more fitness and game management skills.

His innings pitched have also gone down in franchise history. He is only the fifth high school rookie to pitch more than 50 innings in his first season in the Wyverns-Landers franchise, joining Lee Seung-ho (2000), Yoon Gil-hyun (2002), Song Eun-beom (2003), and Kim Kwang-hyun (2007). However, the previous four seniors all made at least three starts. Lee is the first rookie in franchise history to go over 50 innings without making a single start. Even at the end of the season, he gave it his all, throwing over 150 mph. If he can improve his strength and control, he could be a great closer in the future.

The two players will prepare for next year with a combination of rest and training at the Kagoshima Final Camp, which will begin on November 1. Their participation in the camp itself symbolizes the expectations for the two players. Kim Won-hyung is the first coach to talk about the future of the two players. It’s quite a feat for a high school rookie to win the heart of Kim, who is quite picky when it comes to pitchers. If they can show enough promise this year to expand their role next year, it would be a generational change on the SSG mound. There’s a lot to look forward to in their camps.

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