Ahn Woo-jin (24‧ Kiwoom), who has been in the limelight as a fastball pitcher since his amateur days, had a coronation ceremony as the best pitcher in the KBO League last year. His breaking ball is also a breaking ball, but it was the power of his fastball that attracted attention.
It is an era of floods of breaking balls, but what hitters have the most difficulty with is the fast ball, or to be precise, the fast ball that becomes the first pitch. This is because the time to reach the home plate is short, so there is not enough time to physically cope. An Woo-jin, who originally had a fast ball, secured his flexibility through Kiwoom’s systematic training and started throwing a faster ball. And more than anything, he started to become a ninja.
Previously, there were often mismatches on the high side or center. However, An Woo-jin last year was different. His body was fighting without hesitation. SSG hitters who faced An Woo-jin in last year’s Korean Series said, “I heard that he had blisters, but I didn’t feel the aftermath. I can’t choose a way to hit a fast ball on the body regardless of left and right hitters.” This was true even though An Woo-jin was somewhat exhausted. It was the fans and media who acknowledged Ahn Woo-jin as ‘the best’, but more than anyone else, it was the batters who dealt with him.
The interest of the KBO League in 2023 is whether such Ahn Woo-jin will be able to exceed the dream speed of 160 km several times. Although it varies depending on the measuring frame, there are not a few cases that are close to 160km. There is not a huge difference between the 159 km and 160 km balls, but they are still symbolic. However, Ahn Woo-jin answered this question several times, “He doesn’t particularly care about restraint.” But rather, this can be a weapon that can approach 160 km.
Yang Sang-moon, a sports commentator at SPOTV, said, “In Korea, pitchers who throw fast balls often feel power entering, but An Woo-jin doesn’t have that at all. The impact at the moment of hitting the ball is good.” comes out. If I use 100% of my strength before throwing, the elasticity in my body will all die. It’s not easy for this young player to climb the mound and relax, so this year An Woo-jin is amazing. If you do 160km, you will come out unconsciously.” He did not hold back his praise.
However, An Woo-jin did not run alone. He threw a fast ball during his amateur days, and he is interested in whether young players who showed that potential in the professional world will pursue Ahn Woo-jin. Including Jang Jae-young (21), who is a junior on the team, and Moon Dong-ju (20) and Kim Seo-hyun (19), Hanwha’s special young guns, are representative.
They are also raising great expectations as players who can throw 160 km someday. As an amateur, the highest speed already came out to the middle and late 150 km range. Since they are players with short or no professional career yet, if they receive more systematic training, 바카라 there is ample room for their speed to rise.
According to the first half of 2022 tally by ‘Trackman’, which provides tracking data to 9 KBO league clubs, the average speed of An Woo-jin’s four-seam fastball was 153.4 km, the best in Korea. By the way, Moon Dong-ju, who is second in Korea, also had a decimal point difference of 153.4 km, and Jang Jae-young also reached 152.7 km. Kim Seo-hyun, who has not yet opened the lid, also has a record of throwing more than 150 km several times. Looking at the tally of the high school national tournament held at Mokdong Stadium last year, it is Kim Seo-hyun who recorded an average of 150.8 km and a maximum of 156 km with the same Trackman data as the 1st team.
Just because you’re fast doesn’t necessarily mean good grades. However, it can be a proof that we are also participating in the ‘fastball restraint revolution’ that is sweeping baseball around the world. Fans hope that they will follow in the footsteps of An Woo-jin and throw fastballs that are fast and sophisticated, and become the main pillars of Korean baseball. The more the speed gun fires, the more topics there are, and this is also not bad for the league’s box office success.