A 20-year-old who ‘enjoys big games’ and a 22-year-old who ‘thrives on crowds’… The majesty of a PS ERA of 0, the Young-Hyun & Dong-Hyun Miracle
This is the result of coming in late in games, whether his team was winning or losing, and aggressively attacking the strike zone. What’s even more amazing is that the pitchers who did this were born in 2003 and 2001. The two pitchers, both in their early 20s, have proven themselves to be the next generation of pitchers to lead the Korean baseball team through this postseason.
The KT Wiz came back from a two-game deficit to win games three and four to force a best-of-five series. Behind the dramatic 2-2 tie were Park Young-hyun (20) and Son Dong-hyun (22), who battled out of the bullpen for four consecutive games from Game 1 to Game 4. Regardless of the score, wins or losses, they were used in the late innings and proved to be strong in big games.
Young-hyun Park has been a key contributor to KT’s playoff run. Last year’s first-round pick, who started 52 regular-season games and the postseason’s youngest save, went 3-3 with four saves and a 2.75 ERA in 68 games (75⅓ innings) with an upgraded delivery. 카지노사이트 He beat out veteran Noh Kyung-eun (SSG) by two runs to become the KBO’s youngest holder of the title, and ranked fourth in bullpen innings pitched behind Noh, Lim Ki-young (KIA), and Kim Myung-shin (Doosan).
It didn’t stop there
Park Young-hyun was named to the Korean team for the Hangzhou 2023 Asian Games, where he anchored the back end of the bullpen, marking the birth of the post-Oh Seung-hwan era. He was one of the key players in the gold medal victory, and at the tender age of 20, he was granted a special exemption from military service.
Playing in the Asian Games could have been poison. During the three weeks of preparation for the playoffs, Park was troubled by a drop in his binding. “I don’t know why my binding suddenly stopped going up. I didn’t know why my velocity suddenly didn’t go up.” He even criticized himself for not being able to relax after the Asian Games, but that didn’t mean his velocity recovered quickly.
Park Young-hyun, however, was a ‘practice-type pitcher’. He got a taste of autumn with one inning of one-hit, one-strikeout ball in Game 1 on October 30, followed by a perfect multi-inning performance in Game 2 on October 31 with two innings of one-hit, one-strikeout ball, and a hold in Game 3 on November 2 with one inning of one-hit, one-strikeout ball. With his velocity back on track, Park shut down the NC bats with his heart, just as he did in the regular season and the Asian Games.
KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “Park seems to have more adrenaline when he’s under pressure. When I was on the active roster, I was not pitching well in the bullpen, but when I entered the game, I pitched well. There are players who pitch well in the bullpen and then get mentally shaken when there are spectators, but Young-hyun actually enjoys big games,” he said, analyzing the factors behind his performance.
Along with Park, Son Dong-hyun is also making a name for himself in fall baseball
While Young-hyun Park has been in the spotlight since his postseason save last year, Son’s profile has been relatively low, which is why his pitching has garnered a bit more attention than Young-hyun Park.
Son was drafted by KT with the 21st overall pick in the third round of the 2019 KBO Draft out of Seongnam High School. He made a strong impression in his rookie season, going 2-3 with a 4.75 ERA in 34 games, and he appeared in 23 games the following year, but didn’t have the same impact. After missing the playoffs in 2020, Son fulfilled his military obligations by heading to the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce) in March 2021.
Upon his discharge in September of last year, Son joined Park Young-hyun and Kim Jae-yoon to form the KT backcourt trio in his first full-time season. Son’s season record was 8-5, 1 save, 15 holds, and a 3.42 ERA in 64 games, making him an “any-call” pitcher who could be called upon in any situation, whether it was a must-win, chase, or long relief, in just his fourth year in the organization. All of his numbers are career highs, and his innings pitched ranks fifth all-time among relievers (73⅔ innings).
Playing his first fall baseball, Sohn appeared in all four games of the playoffs, resulting in an ERA of 0. He pitched one inning of two-hit, one-strikeout ball in Game 1, followed by two innings of one-hit, one-strikeout ball in Game 2, a one-hit shutout in Game 3, and a one-hit shutout in Game 4. If Park is the pitcher who is responsible for the game-winning runs, Son Dong-hyun is the pitcher who is responsible for the game-winning runs.
Catcher Jang Sung-woo is the player closest to their passion
“I think it’s just natural,” he said. In big games, in big situations, there are players who perform better than usual, and that’s the case with our young pitchers,” he said. “I felt it in the Korean Series two years ago, too, that our team has more vertical movement and velocity than in the season, both in the middle and at the start. There are a lot of players who don’t get nervous in big games and perform better. This is the case with Park Young-hyun and Son Dong-hyun.”
“Son Dong-hyun throws better in front of a big crowd. He’s been getting better and better in these playoffs. We have one more pitcher we can definitely use,” he smiled with satisfaction.