Pil Seung-jo holds a career-high 48 holds and receives an infield funk… Why does Choi Jun-yong challenge ‘Idoryu’?
The Lotte Giants’ pitching staff consists of Kim Won-joong (30), the franchise’s first 100-save pitcher, Koo Seung-min (33), the franchise’s first 100-hit pitcher and a four-year streak of 20-hit seasons, and Choi Jun-yong, who has also recorded 20-hit seasons. The members of the Lotte bullpen have not changed in recent years. The trio has been the core of Lotte’s bullpen, and even when compared to other clubs, Lotte’s bullpen has not been inferior.
Choi Jun-yong is the youngest and most promising member of the Lotte bullpen. He was drafted in the first round in 2020 and is one of the league’s most dominant pitchers, throwing a 150-kilometer fastball with good spin. In 2021, 먹튀검증토토사이트 he reached 20 holds. In his career, Young has a record of 9-11, 15 saves, 48 holds, and a 3.50 ERA in 190 games. This year, he struggled with injuries, but finished with a 2.47 ERA in 47 games with a 2-3 record and 14 saves. He has had a successful career as a closer.
Based on these results, he will be wearing the Korean flag and taking the mound at the Tokyo Dome in Japan for the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), which starts on April 16. He has been warming up for the APBC in a final training session that started on the 25th of last month. He pitched out of the bullpen to get into pitching shape.
But Choi doesn’t just throw balls
After the bullpen, he takes infield pitches and works on his defense. Finally, he takes a bat and works on his hitting. Jun-yong Choi is currently trying out for the Idoryu. He’s even open to the possibility of making a full transition to hitting.
When we met him at the Sangdong Stadium in Gimhae on the third of this month, he admitted that he had been thinking about it for a while. It takes a lot more effort and sweat than when he trains as a pitcher. Nevertheless, Choi is willing to go through the process.
When I asked him why, he said, “My arm has been hurting since I was 20 years old, four years ago. It wasn’t a lot of pain, but it hurt often. So, I was worried about it a lot. Then, in early May, I told the club about switching to a batting position or doing a dual job, but the manager changed, so it seemed like it was just going to happen.”
However, coach Kim Tae-hyung understood what Choi was going through and what kind of situation he was in. “He called me up and said, ‘I heard that you’re playing. He said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I was sick the whole time, so I was worried. I told the club in May of this year and told them my situation, so they said, ‘Let’s give it a try,’ so I’m training now,” he explained. Coach Kim Tae-hyung acknowledged Choi’s challenge of batting and hitting, saying, “You have to try it and feel it.”
Choi was actually taking the mound with shoulder strain
In recent years, his back, elbows, and lower back have been frequently strained. One could argue that balance issues stemming from shoulder pain led to injury. In 2021, he was diagnosed with a torn subscapularis muscle, one of the rotator cuffs in his right shoulder.
With this pain, his performance as a pitcher is limited. Although he is a good pitcher, he is also athletic enough to play shortstop in his middle school days. There is no record of him ever batting in an official competition at Gyeongnam High School.
However, according to his former teammates, Choi Jun-yong had some talent as a hitter. Lee Dae-ho (retired) is the most famous Gyeongnam Go batsman, and more recently, Han Dong-hee (Lotte), Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha), Jeon Eui-san (SSG), and Lee Ju-hyung (Kiwoom).
“I was with (Han) Dong-hee and (No) Si-hwan, but (Choi) Jun-yong hit farther than both of them,” said Choi’s teammate Lee Joo-hyung, who unlocked his potential after being traded from LG to Kiwoom this year. “If you talk about the big three (in Gyeongnam), it was Dong-hee, Si-hwan, and Eui-san, but even if you include all three of them, Jun-yong was number one in power. He hit it the farthest, and he hit it really well.”
Choi’s Gyeongnam High School classmate Han Dong-hee,
A two-year senior, was considered the next big thing, being dubbed “Little Lee Dae-ho” despite his ups and downs this year. Noh Si-hwan, a year older, led the league in home runs and RBI with 31 and 101 this year. Lee Joo-hyung, who was traded to Kiwoom late in the year, also hit .897 with six home runs, 36 RBIs and an OPS of .322 in 99 games (215-for-70).
Choi’s potential as a hitter has been recognized by his teammates, who also have hitting talent. In his free passes, he can hit the ball quite far. If you don’t look closely, his batting form looks like any other hitter’s. He’s been working on his defense at the infield position and showing promise as a fielder.
In reality, there’s no word on whether Choi will make the transition to a full-time hitter, or whether he’ll take some of the pressure off the pitching staff and play as a hitter before returning to pitching. However, the prospect of a pitcher with one of the best fastballs in the league trying his hand at hitting is certainly worthy of attention.