Ahn Woo-jin·Ko Woo-seok·Jeong Cheol-won… ‘Mound change’ led by Generation Z

KBO League was a year in which young pitchers born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, called the so-called ‘Generation Z’, emerged.

The average ERA for the entire KBO league this year was 4.06. The league average ERA was lower than this year in 2012. This means that the ride-to-jerk phenomenon has subsided for the first time in nearly 10 years. As the strike zone normalized this year, pitchers were in an advantageous environment, which affected mound power.

Among them, the rapid progress of young pitchers was noticeable this year. After the season, most of the pitching awards were won by pitchers younger than 1998. Pitcher Golden Glove was won by An Woo-jin (Kiwoom), born in 1999, Save King by Go Woo-seok (LG), born in 1998, Hold King by Jung Woo-young (LG), born in 1999, and Rookie King by Jeong Cheol-won (Doosan), born in 1999.

Ahn Woo-jin, who was unrivaled in strikeouts (224), recorded 15 wins and 8 losses with an average ERA of 2.11, and after competing with Kim Gwang-hyeon (SSG, 2.13), who was 11 years older than him, ranked first in average ERA. An Woo-jin received 179 votes in the pitching Golden Glove, beating Kim Gwang-hyeon (97 votes) and announcing the shift in starting pitchers.

Go Woo-seok (42 saves) and Jung Woo-young (35 holds) broke the stereotype that veteran pitchers are good at blocking the back door. Last year, Oh Seung-hwan, born in 1982, held the save king trophy in his arms for the first time this year. Ko Woo-seok won his first save king title after rising to the closer position in 2019. Jung Woo-young also surpassed 30 holds for the first time and was named alongside Hyunsik Jang (KIA) and Ju Kwon (kt) among the young hold kings.

Jeong Cheol-won is a 5-year-old rookie king who joined the pro in 2018, but he is still a young pitcher at the age of 23. Jeong Chul-won recorded 23 holds this year and received the award that can only be received once in a lifetime after enduring steadfastly in the rookie king game led by hitters such as Kim Do-young (KIA), Park Chan-hyeok (Kiwoom), and Kim In-hwan (Hanhwa). Doosan, which did not have a title holder this year, found comfort in Prime Minister Jeong Cheol-won. 메이저놀이터

In addition, Won Tae-in (Samsung), born in 2000, won the Pitcher Real Glove at the Athletes Association Awards Ceremony, and Jung Hae-young (KIA), born in 2001, achieved 30 saves for two consecutive years. Although the seasoned beauty of traditional aces such as Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA) still stands out, it seems that the heyday of ‘Generation Z’ pitchers around the year 2000 will open soon.

Most of the young pitchers who commanded the KBO league this year are also included in the 2023 WBC interest list to be held in March next year. In addition to these, Gwak Bin (Doosan), Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha), Park Se-woong, Kim Won-jung (above Lotte), Kim Jae-woong, Choi Won-tae (Kiwoom), So-jun So, Kim Min-soo (above kt), and Lee Eui-ri (KIA), the more active young pitchers are needed. It is Korea.