Jang Jae-young, who evolved in Australia, will be the key to Kiwoom’s first win?
This year’s goal for Kiwoom Heroes, who unfortunately finished runner-up in the Korean Series in the 2022 KBO League, is its first championship. Lee Jung-hoo, who won last year’s regular season MVP, will try to advance to the major leagues by posting after the end of this season. If Lee Jung-hoo leaves for the major leagues, next year Kiwoom will not be able to avoid losing power, so this year is the right time to win.
However, Kiwoom chose to part with internal FA pitchers Jeong Chan-heon and Han Hyun-hee, raising concerns about weakening the mound. Jeong Chan-heon is pushing for a sign-and-trade in a sweeping way. Han Hyun-hee transferred to her hometown team Lotte Giants for a total of 4 billion won over 4 years. It remains to be seen whether Ariel Furado, a new foreign pitcher hired by Kiwoom for a total of $1 million, the maximum amount for the first year of a foreign player contract in the KBO League, will adapt.
The pitcher who is considered the ‘last puzzle’ for Kiwoom to win the championship is Jang Jae-young, a right-handed fireballer who will be in his 3rd year as a pro this year. Jang Jae-young, whose potential to advance to the major leagues was discussed during his time at Deoksu High School, was recognized for his tremendous potential and received the first nomination from Kiwoom in 2021 and joined with a down payment of 900 million won.
※ Kiwoom Jang Jae-young’s professional career records
In 2021, the first year of his professional debut, he drew attention with his fastball with an average velocity of 151.0 km/h. But in 17.2 innings, he allowed 24 walks, bringing his average walks per 9 innings to a whopping 12.23. Due to his serious insecurity, he was at a level that was difficult to use in the first team. He had no wins, 1 loss, an earned run average of 9.17, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.779, and detailed indicators were also poor.
Last year, his second year as a pro, was still sluggish with an ERA of 7.71 and an OPS of 0.975 without a win or loss. He was withdrawn from the first team at the end of June and never returned to the first team. He was not even included in Kiwoom’s postseason roster.
But he was not without an element of hope. His fastball average velocity was 152.1 km/h, up 1.1 km/h from the previous year, while his average walks per nine innings was significantly reduced to 4.50. He’s not at a level that warrants a solid first-team position, but he’s managed to make up for his weaknesses while maintaining his strengths.
From November of last year, Jang Jae-young joined Geelong Korea of the Australian Professional Baseball League (ABL) and played an active role as a starting pitcher. He started all six games and went 1-2 with a 3.30 earned run average. He allowed 9 walks in 30 innings, averaging 2.7 walks per 9 innings, and his pitching was stable. WHIP (average on-base allowed per 9 innings) was 1.03, and the detailed indicator was also impressive. 토토사이트
Jang Jae-young is digesting the first team camp in Arizona, USA, which started on the 1st. It was his first overseas spring camp since his professional debut. It is important to prepare for the stability that was shown in Geelong Korea to continue into the regular season of the KBO League.
It is true that Jang Jae-young’s past two years were empty compared to the huge amount of down payment. However, it is too hasty to predict the future of a young pitcher who was born in 2002 and will be 21 years old this year. Attention is focusing on whether Jang Jae-young, who scored zero points in the Australian league, will take the lead in Kiwoom’s first championship by exploding his potential.