“I even thought about quitting baseball.”
Right-handed pitcher Kim Dong-gyu (20), recalled his school days, made the remarks. Actually, Kim Dong-gyu was not a pitcher who received much attention when he was an amateur. He did not have good physical conditions and displayed poor performance. When he was a middle school student in Yeongnam, he only played in one game. In his junior year, he had a fastball speed of only 108 kilometers. Compared to his peers, he was a very slow pitcher.
Even after deciding to go to Seongnam High School, I had a lot of worries. I wondered if I should keep going as a baseball player. To make matters worse, I even suffered a broken toe. When I was unable to exercise, I gained weight rapidly. However, the injury became a boon. As I gained 93 kg, I balanced my body. At that time, Kim Dong-gyu was 180 cm tall. Thanks to the strength, his speed increased to 140 km. He gained 32 km at once.
His physical condition improved and his speed improved, but Kim Dong-gyu did not play in an official game until his second year of high school. It was not because he lacked skills. He flew out of his first year of high school because of growing pains. As his height grew rapidly up to 195 centimeters, he suffered severe pain in his knee. He also suffered an arm injury. There was no pain, but if he kept throwing the ball, he was in a position to have surgery. He had to take another six months off.
The young Kim faced challenges one after another. He couldn’t even take part in off-season training because his injury didn’t recover even in the winter ahead of his third year of high school. However, he tried to overcome the difficulties. He started exercising at 6 a.m. every day and conducted rigorous personal training all day long. He worked out his body by rehabilitation and weight training at the same time. After spending much time, he became a completely different pitcher.
Making his first appearance at the Blue Dragon Open, Kim pitched well, allowing only one run in three games. Even during the presidential race, he pitched one scoreless inning in one game and one inning. When he was a high school senior, he pitched five ⅔ in three games and secured one win. In his third year of high school, Kim had two wins and an earned run average of 2.45 in 21 ⅔ in 10 games.
He pitched in only 10 games during his three years in high school, but Kim left an impressive impact. He joined the LG Twins as the 17th overall pick in the second round in the 2023 rookie draft. At the time, LG named Kim Dong-gyu because he was tall and had good pitching angle, strong pitching mechanism and strong ball tip, and was able to overwhelm batters.
Kim Dong-gyu also did not expect such results. He did not show much when he was a student. “When I received the draft invitation, I thought, ‘Why me?’ But LG called me in the second round. I was really surprised. Come to think of it, I think a lot of scouts came when I took the mound. The timing was good. I think I selected him because I was in good physical condition. I think his high RBI came out well. I think LG picked me to nurture me,” he said looking back on the situation at the time.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the top round, he would have gone to college. His academic performance was excellent, so he could become an ordinary college student. I thought I should go to the physical education department and become a teacher. Or I went to the college baseball team and tried to knock on the professional stage again with an early draft.
Kim Dong-gyu was traded to Kiwoom while undergoing a training program at LG after joining the professional league. LG, which is trying to win the championship, needed a starting pitcher, and sent Kim Dong-gyu and batter Lee Ju-hyung to Kiwoom as a condition of receiving Choi Won-tae. Kim Dong-gyu was embarrassed by the sudden notification of the trade, but he was determined to work harder at Kiwoom, the land of opportunity. 월카지노도메인
Kim Dong-kyu said, “When I first heard the news of the trade, I was stunned. People around me comforted me because I would get more opportunities. After reflecting on it, I thought that Kiwoom wanted me to proceed with the tray. I was able to calm myself down, and I was motivated to move the team and work harder,” he recalled at the time.
Kiwoom has many young players. As he has many peers, Kim quickly joined the team. “At first, I only followed Jong-min, who was my senior at school. I was thinking about who I should talk to, but my teammates all came first. I was so grateful. Veteran seniors also help me a lot,” Kim said.
During the off-season, he is training at Gocheok Sky Dome. He is working hard on core training with the help of his senior, Jung Chan-heon. “Jung Chan-heon takes really good care of me. We are training together to develop core strength. Jung Chan-heon has a history of back surgery, so he has a lot of knowledge about core training. I am also learning a lot next to him,” Kim Dong-gyu said.
Kim is also training to maximize his strengths. He is trying to use his long arms to throw the ball from the front. “When I drag the ball forward and throw it, the batter feels it faster,” Kim said. “Extension is higher than 2 meters. When playing the Cheongbaek match, batters felt the ball faster.” The speed of the ball was only 140 kilometers, but he felt like 147 kilometers. I am practicing throwing the ball from the front.”
When I take a break, I draw pictures. Kim Dong-gyu, who enjoys watching cartoons, empties his mind by drawing characters that he likes. Kim Dong-gyu said, “I get a lot of stress from playing baseball. In the past, I used to relieve my stress by exercising, but I couldn’t completely relieve it. When I found a way to empty my mind, it was best to draw cartoons with music on. I draw pictures whenever I have time,” he said.
I want to take the mound in the main league in the 2024 season. “I dream of playing as a starting pitcher. I want to continue weight training and increase my speed. I have shown good performance since the spring camp, and I want to rebound this year,” Kim said.