World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team’s signature pitcher Kim Gwang-hyeon (35, SSG Landers) is busy a month earlier than last year.
Kim Gwang-hyun participates in the national team training to be held in Tucson, Arizona, on the 14th (Korean time). After training for about two weeks in Tucson, the national team warms up with self-training and practice matches at Gocheok Dome and Osaka Kyocera Dome in early March. Then, on March 9, the first match of the first round of the WBC will be played against Australia at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. It is actually a month early start for Kim Gwang-hyun, who made his first appearance of the season on April 9 last year. Based on the opening day of the WBC, a year ago was the time when Kim Gwang-hyun, who had finished challenging the Major League (MLB), signed a contract with SSG.
Condition management is important. Kim Gwang-hyun entered the season without being able to digest team training in the aftermath of MLB’s lockout last year. In the 2023 season, a normal start is possible. However, since he has to start pitching for real battles earlier than in previous years, managing his physical condition is the key. After the national team schedule ends, his long journey in his team begins. SSG, who won the combined championship last year, will at least fall baseball or the Korean Series this year. Depending on the postseason schedule, Kim Gwang-hyun has to prepare with the determination to play for more than 8 months. 먹튀검증
Kim Gwang-hyun was the most obvious card SSG could pull out last year. He started 28 regular season games last year and made a big success with a 13-3 record, an earned run average (ERA) of 2.13, and an on-base allowed per inning (WHIP) of 1.07. SSG recorded a win rate of about 74% with 20 wins, 1 draw and 7 losses in the games where Kim Gwang-hyun started. Although it did not reach 80% of the team’s win rate when starting out, which was initially set as the goal of the return season by Kim Gwang-hyun, it is the highest among 12 players with starting records in last year’s SSG. Last year, in games where another ace Wilmer Font (San Diego Padres) started, SSG recorded a team win rate of about 67% with 18 wins, 1 draw and 9 losses.
Kim Gwang-hyun is likely to be recognized as the only ‘constant’ of the SSG starters in the new season. SSG recruited left-handers Eni Romero and Kirk McCarty in place of Font and Sean Morimando (Citizen Brothers), who played as foreign one-two punches last year. These two have no experience playing in the KBO league, so they need a verification process. Among the domestic starting pitchers, Moon Seung-won and Park Jong-hoon, who both underwent right elbow ligament joint surgery in 2021, are celebrating their second year of return. It is true that the physical condition is better than before, but as it is actually a full-time season for the first time in three years, it remains to be seen whether it will show the skills of the previous years again. This year, Kim Gwang-hyun’s shoulders are heavy.