“(Kim) Jae-yoon will be able to sign a free agent contract just by his pitch.”
KT coach Kang-Cheol Lee met with reporters at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on the 23rd and pointed out the hidden value of finisher Kim Jae-yoon and praised the player.
The match that the command tower recalled was against Daejeon Hanwha on the 19th and 20th. On the 19th, Kim Jae-yoon earned his 4th salvation win of the season with 2 strikeouts and 2 scoreless runs in 2 innings, and the next day he reached the 22 save mark with 1 scoreless inning. Finish Thanks to Kim Jae-yoon’s strong finish, KT achieved 10 consecutive winning series.
Coach Lee said, “If you look at the match-up, the catcher is just putting on a mitt. The fastball RPM went up to 2600. The ball looked really good.”
In fact, Kim Jae-yoon was not a pitcher from the start. Kim Jae-yoon, who played as a catcher in the minor leagues in the US after graduating from Whimoon High School, joined KT as the 2nd special 13th pick in 2015 and put on a pitcher’s glove at the suggestion of former coach Beom-Hyun Cho.
Pitcher conversion has become a godsend. From 2016, the second year of his joining, Kim Jae-yoon took on the role of the youngest club’s closer in earnest, accumulating his experience and saves at the same time. The fastball, which has more power and rotation than the speed recorded on the electronic board, was the strength that only Kim Jae-yoon had.
Kim Jae-yoon steadfastly achieved double-digit saves for three consecutive years even in the dark days of KT. This led to his first 20-save breakthrough (21 saves) in his debut in 2020, and finally, through 30 saves (32 saves) in 2021, he finally accumulated a personal career 100-save gold medal. It was the moment when he became the league’s top closer after six years of pitching. And in the 2022 season, with 61 games, 9 wins, 7 losses, 33 saves, and an average ERA of 3.26, he broke his personal record for the most saves and stepped on the 30 save mark for the second consecutive year.
Kim Jae-yoon’s high-altitude march continues this year. He appeared in 43 games and boasted a sense of stability with 4 wins, 2 losses, 22 saves, and an average ERA of 1.29, and was reborn as the protagonist of the so-called miracle rebound of KT, which rose from last place to second place. Although the team’s saves and innings (48⅔ innings) are expected to fall short of last year’s, it is third in the save category after SSG Seo Jin-yong (32 saves) and Lotte Kim Won-joong (23 saves), and its WHIP (0.82) and batting average (.182) are Kim Jae-yoon is the 1st overall closer.
In addition, Kim Jae-yoon, who has 159 saves in his career, is ranked 8th in the KBO career save ranking alone. In terms of active play, he is 3rd after Samsung Oh Seung-hwan (391 saves) and Hanwha Jung Woo-ram (197 saves), and is moving toward 7th place Jin Pil-joong (191 saves). The new team closer, who started his career as a catcher, has risen to the point where he is mentioned along with the KBO league’s representative closers.
Kim Jae-yoon, who has steadily sold a well since turning into a pitcher, will enter the long-awaited free agent market after completing this season safely. Looking at the records mentioned above one by one, the prospects are bright. Pitchers are always rare in the free agent market, but Kim Jae-yoon is a so-called ‘verified’ resource who obtained FA qualification with sincerity and heavy pitches. From the point of view of the top team aiming for the championship, including the original team KT, it is a pitcher that draws a lot of appetite.스포츠토토
Director Lee said, “When (Kim) Jae-yoon signs a free agent contract, the number of saves is meaningless. When signing a free agent contract, it seems that any team can sign a contract just by pitching. If the pitch is stable, the team to be taken will be taken,” he said. “Of course, Kim Jae-yoon is our franchise star. We’ll get it,” he said, predicting Stove League this winter.