Yoon Young-cheol’s (KIA Tigers) debut season is coming to an end, as the much-hyped “special left-hander” has been on the rise since before he joined the organization.
Selected by KIA with the second overall pick in the first round of the 2023 Korean Baseball Organization draft, Yoon worked on his mechanics in spring training and exhibition games before finally making his professional debut on April 15 against the Kiwoom Heroes. Although he took the loss after giving up five runs on four hits (one home run) and five walks in 3⅔ innings while striking out two, he improved after that and earned his first win on May 3 against the Gwangju Lotte Giants.토토사이트
Confirming his potential as a starting pitcher, Yoon threw more than five innings in all five games in May, and even achieved his first Quality Start Plus on June 6 against the SSG Landers. Despite his ups and downs, he has been a steady performer and a key part of the starting lineup ever since. As of the 16th, Yoon has a record of 8-6 with a 4.22 ERA in 22 games and 106⅔ innings pitched.
In his most recent start, on May 15 against the Gwangju Doosan Bears, he struggled a bit, giving up two runs on six hits (one home run) and two walks in 3⅔ innings while striking out three. It was the first time in his second half that he didn’t last more than four innings. While the offense managed to avoid a loss, the team used up a lot of its bullpen, and the 6-8 loss was even more devastating.
Naturally, there’s a lot of talk about how Yoon needs to be managed. As he continues to work his way through the rotation, he has now surpassed the 100-inning mark, and there is a growing consensus that he needs to be managed given his rookie status. Of course, current results are important, but in the long run, Yoon is a resource for the team’s future, and the club can’t fail to realize that.
With exactly 27 games left, KIA has made a clear decision on how to manage Yoon. They don’t want him to pitch more than twice a week for the rest of the season.
Before the 14th game of the season against Doosan was canceled due to rain on the 16th, KIA manager Kim Jong-kook said, “The ball was high all around. I made an early change, but I think my fastball and changeup had a tendency to be high, so I’m sorry about that. I think the number of pitches was higher than I thought compared to the innings,” he said, reviewing Yoon’s pitching the day before.
Talking about how to manage Yoon, Kim said, “I’m going to turn him into a Friday turn. I’m thinking of having him come out once a week,” and said, “I think he’ll come out about three or four times in the future because there are postponed games.” The coaching staff’s intention is to ease Yoon’s burden by fixing the days of his appearances.
If the schedule stays the same, Yoon will start against the Gwangju KT Wiz on April 22, the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes on April 29, and the LG Twins in Jamsil on April 6. If the rain-delayed games are rescheduled, it will be Yoon’s turn until the October 12 game.
Yoon has already done his part and has shown a lot in his first season. The manager doesn’t expect much from the left-handed rookie. Kim Jong-kook said, “I want him to clear his mind and throw comfortably. If he doesn’t get greedy, I think he’ll pitch better,” he said, expressing his expectations for Yoon’s performance.
“He won’t be pitching many innings for the rest of the season,” said a KIA team official, adding, “The club is also concerned about him.” As the season comes to a close, the race for the top spot is in full swing, but the desire to see the ‘left-handed rookie’ grow hasn’t changed since the beginning of the season.