“San Diego Man” Ko Woo-suk (26, San Diego Padres) predicted the success of Yoo Young-chan (27), who will succeed him as LG closer. Yoo Young-chan is a rookie in his second year now, with only one save in his career.
LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop selected Yoo Young-chan as a closing replacement for Ko Woo-suk, who entered the Major League at the LG Twins New Year’s greeting held at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on the 5th.
“I think Yoo Young-chan will do it to some extent. Of course, baseball is not going as you think. Obviously, Young-chan can have a hard time. The most important thing is to make a year for Young-chan to get a position as a save pitcher because the coach and coaching staff helped him overcome the difficulties well. That way, our team will be able to have more skills and structure in the next season,” he stressed.
After graduating from Bae Myung-go and Konkuk University, Yoo ranked 43rd in the second round of the LG Twins’ fifth round in the 2020 Rookie Draft to achieve his dream of becoming a professional golfer. However, not many LG fans knew Yoo’s name until 2022. He had been playing in the Futures League without making his debut in the main league, only to fulfill his mandatory military service as a social service worker. After being called off from the military service, Yoo showed poor performance in the Futures League with one loss and three holds ERA of 4.50 in 12 games.
Taking advantage of his experience in the second team in 2022, Yoo Young-chan pitched remarkably in last year’s spring camp and exhibition games. His record in exhibition games was one win and one hold with an ERA of 0.000 in five games, and he made a successful debut with one scoreless inning in the opening game against KT on April 1. After finishing the month of April with a 3.52 ERA in 12 games, Yoo Young-chan harvested holds for two consecutive days against NC in Changwon on May 2 and 3, signaling the birth of a new must-win group.
The biggest secret to good pitching was rising speed of his pitches. Yoo, who threw flat balls in the late 130km/h to early 140km/h range before joining the military, became a fireballer with fast speeds of up to 150km after being called off from the military. After introducing a lower body training method at the camp, Yoo gained experience in actual games and saw his pitches rise together.
Yoo Young-chan, who successfully completed his first year of debut with 67 games, 6 wins, 3 losses, 1 save, 12 holds with an ERA of 3.44, also stood tall as the leading player in the unified victory for the first time in 29 years, showing off his strength with a 1.50 ERA in three games and one hold in the Korean Series, which was also his first debut. Yoo Young-chan was selected as the Korean Series MVP by head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop and received 10 million won in prize money, and even received the joy of receiving the highest level of performance in the 2024 season salary negotiations.
Ko Woo-suk, who is leaving for the U.S. to fulfill his dream of becoming a big leaguer, predicted the success of Yoo Young-chan, a three-year junior and one-year-old older brother. “I think (Yoo Young-chan) will do well. There is no doubt that he will do well,” Ko said after finishing his contract with San Diego and returning to Korea via Incheon International Airport Terminal 2.
Ko Woo-seok, who was first selected by LG in the 2017 Rookie Draft, has been LG’s built-in closer since 2019. He recorded 19 wins, 26 losses, 139 saves, and six holds with an ERA of 3.18 in 354 games in seven seasons, and won the save king for the first time with 1.48 ERA and 42 saves in 2022, becoming the league’s best finish.
Last year, he had only three wins, eight losses, 15 saves and an ERA of 3.68 in 44 games due to minor injuries, including neck and shoulder injuries at the World Baseball Classic in March. He was sluggish in the Korean Series with four games, one win, one loss and one save and an ERA of 8.31, but he helped his team win the title for the first time in 29 years since 1994, winning his first career championship ring 헤라카지노도메인.
Last year, LG discovered a number of must-win teams that will take responsibility for the next 10 years, including rookie Park Myung-geun, Ham Deok-ju, who made a comeback after recovering from injury, and fireballer Baek Seung-hyun. In the meantime, the final winner of the competition for Ko’s successor is Yoo Young-chan, who was reborn as LG’s biggest hit product last year. Recognized by his predecessor, Ko Woo-suk, attention is focusing on whether he will be able to leap to the closing position where he leads the 2024 season in a row.