Lotte Kim Jin-wook (21) and KIA Lee Eui-ri (21) debuted side by side in the 2021 season. There are many resemblances. Both are left-handed pitchers, and were rated as top prospects.
When he joined, Kim Jin-wook received more attention. Kim Jin-wook received a down payment of 370 million won in the 2nd round (1st overall), and Lee Eui-ri received 300 million won in the 1st nomination. However, from the first year of his debut, Lee Eui-ri stepped forward. Eui-ri Lee won the rookie award only once.
In the 2021 season, Eui-ri Lee immediately took a place in the starting rotation and played an active part with an average ERA of 3.61 with 4 wins and 5 losses in 19 games (94⅔ innings). Kim Jin-wook allowed more than 5 runs in 4 consecutive games as a starting pitcher and changed his position to the bullpen. He had a 6.31 earned run average with 4 wins, 6 losses and 8 holds in 39 games (45⅔ innings).
In 2022, the gap widened further. Eui-ri Lee appeared in 29 games (154 innings) as a built-in starter and recorded an average ERA of 3.86 with 10 wins and 10 losses. He passed the regulation innings with 10 wins, and the average earned run average (3.85) of KIA native ace Yang Hyeon-jong was similar.
Kim Jin-wook spent a lot of time in the second team in the second half, and in 14 games (46⅔ innings), he only had 2 wins and 5 losses with an ERA of 6.36. In the number of innings, the first year was a double difference, but last year it was a triple difference.
Looking at the next 10 or 15 years of player life, two years may be a short time right now. You can grow up step by step and catch up or overtake them, and you don’t know how the current gap will change in the future.
It was around September of last year. I asked Lotte coach Larry Sutton about Kim Jin-wook, who, in contrast to Lee Eui-ri, is having a pro adaptation period until his second year. We asked why Kim Jin-wook could not reach his full potential, had a lot of ups and downs between good throwing games and poor games, and had been experiencing ups and downs for the second year. (Of course, two years may not be enough time even for a top-class rookie.)
At the time, coach Sutton said, “Kim Jin-wook is a mature player who is not like a young player. He praised his mentality, saying, “Every time he pitches, he fights the best and wants to win.”
He continued, “I have a strong mentality, but I am a player who is not physically complete. One of the problems is inconsistent delivery. If consistent consistency doesn’t work the way you want it to, then performance won’t come out. It’s one of those things that some young players go through. There are cases where players who are mentally strong and full of passion cannot control their bodies.” 안전놀이터
Does it mean that he is full of motivation but is not yet physically perfected as a pitcher? If the delivery is not consistent, the balance collapses and the ball is shaken. He has a hard time throwing a good ball.
Kim Jin-wook said he needed more time. “It will take time,” Sutton said. It takes time to learn to slow down. He must be able to run consistently. He also noted that modifications to the body and mechanics are necessary.”
Kim Jin-wook was a member of Geelong Korea last winter and gained experience in Australian professional baseball. He went 3 with a 7.31 earned run average in 4 games. He allowed 8 runs in 2 innings, 3 runs in 5 innings, 5 scoreless innings, and 3 runs in 4 innings.
Following this, he is preparing for the season with extraordinary determination in spring camp. On the 22nd, Kim Jin-wook recorded 1 inning, 1 strikeout, no hits, and no runs in an exchange match with Chiba Lotte Group 2 held at Ishigaki Municipal Stadium on Ishigaki Island, Japan. His highest fastball speed was 143 km.
Kim Jin-wook said, “I tried to throw as many strikes as possible, and the ball was fine in the bullpen, so I tried to keep that rhythm on the mound. He was in good condition after his first real match, and he will prepare well for the season,” he said.