Has he truly regained his status as a ‘winning contractor’? I faithfully carried out the director’s orders and even honed my third weapon.
LG pitcher Choi Won-tae met the expectations of coach Yeom Kyung-yeop and LG fans by showing a completely different appearance after returning to the second team. Choi Won-tae appeared as a starting pitcher in the game against Hanwha held at Jamsil Stadium on the 24th, and won the game with 6 hits (1 home run), 1 walk, 8 strikeouts, and 1 run in 7 innings. He showed stable performance in the game, except for one solo home run.
At the end of July, LG sent promising pitcher Lee Joo-hyung, rookie pitcher Kim Dong-gyu, and a first-round pick in the 2024 rookie draft to Kiwoom in order to reinforce its native starting lineup, and brought in Choi Won-tae through a trade.
Choi Won-tae won the game against Doosan on July 30 with perfect pitching in 6 innings without allowing any runs. However, after that, he performed poorly due to ups and downs due to pitching, and while wearing the LG uniform, he performed poorly with 2 wins, 2 losses, and an average ERA of 8.27 in 8 games. As Lee Joo-hyung, wearing the Kiwoom uniform, performed well with a batting average of .300, Choi Won-tae’s slump became even more bitter for LG.
Choi Won-tae was hit hard in the previous three games, allowing 20 runs in 9⅔ innings. After performing poorly against KIA on the 10th, allowing 7 runs in 2⅔ innings, he was eventually sent down to the 2nd team. Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop cited Kiwoom’s poor performance in the first half of the year as the number of innings pitched increased compared to last year, fatigue accumulated, and the value of his main weapon, change-up, decreased.
Choi Won-tae met the expectations of a ‘winning contractor’ in his return to the first team after 14 days. He sent out runners in every inning from the 1st to the 6th inning against Hanwha batters, but the lead batter started with a clear out. He hit all subsequent batters메이저사이트 in the 1st inning with 1 out and runner on base, 2nd inning with 2 outs and 2nd base, 3rd inning with 2 outs and 1st base, and 4th inning with 1 out and runner on first base.
In the 5th inning, he allowed a solo home run to Jinyoung Lee with a slider mishit, and overcame the crisis with a strikeout on 1st and 2nd base with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd base with 2 outs in the 6th inning, leading 2-1. In the 7th inning, for the first time that day, he ended his appearance with a three-way throw.
His highest fastball speed was 148 km and the number of pitches was 92. He threw fastballs (33), two-seamers (9), sliders (25), changeups (15), and curveballs (10). His four-seamer and two-seam pitches were good, and in addition to his main weapon change-up, he struck out five with a curveball, which attracted attention.
After the game, Choi Won-tae said, “Coach Kyung Hyun-ho and Shin Jae-woong helped me a lot in the second team. Coach Kyung Hyun-ho said it would be good for me to throw a pitch-seamer and told me to use a pitch-seamer. Coach Shin Jae-woong showed me a video of me when I was good and said, ‘I’m a little bit better now. “My arms were raised a little, but he said that if I lowered them a little, the two-seam movement would be good. My arms went back to the height they were when they were good before,” he explained.
Coach Yeom said that Choi Won-tae’s main weapon is a change-up, and that he must throw a change-up mixed with a fastball to overpower the batter. Choi Won-tae said, “I tried to throw a changeup in the beginning, but I kept missing it (with the ball), so I thought I would get a feel for the changeup when I had some free time. So I threw a lot of sliders and curveballs in the beginning, and after passing the first inning, I threw fastballs and changeups in the second half. “I was able to pitch up to 7 innings by reducing the number of pitches,” he said.
He also said, “I don’t use the curveball that much because it’s not my second pitch, but I think it was pretty good when I struck out today. I think I need to use the curveball a little better.” In addition to his main weapon, the changeup, a curveball with a large drop can be a secret weapon that catches the opponent’s batter off guard.
Choi Won-tae said of his recent slump, “I couldn’t throw well. There was a lot of bad luck, but… I prepared to make more use of my changeup and curve in the second team.” He was not very excited about the good pitching that day. He commented, “The result was good, but I’m not satisfied. It was good that the changeup was missing in the beginning and I threw a curveball as the final ball. The changeup was caught a little in the second half.”
Choi Won-tae said that when he was performing poorly, his teammates were doing well, so he did not feel much psychological burden. He emphasized that he must show a better performance in the remaining appearances. Choi Won-tae said, “I think I will get better if I keep practicing hard.”