Baek Jung-hyun, the ‘141km Efficiency Champion’ and Park Jin-man, the ‘Won Tae-in’, wanted a pitcher like this.

“It’s much more efficient to strike out three batters with three pitches than to do the KKK with nine pitches.”

His fastball tops out at 141 kilometres per hour. But speed is not an absolute requirement to be a good pitcher. Baek Jeong-hyun (36-Samsung Lions) is the epitome of Park’s ideal pitcher.

On the 25th, Baek took the mound against the visiting Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, and threw just 87 pitches over eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three.

The only disappointment for Baek on the day was that he was unable to get enough run support to secure the win with key hitters out with injuries.

On the 16th, Won Tae-in pitched six innings of one-run ball against the KIA Tigers, but was hit by a home run for the sixth straight game. The next day, manager Park Jin-man pointed out that it was more of an effect than the home runs, and that he was avoiding them early on and throwing more pitches.

“You have to throw pitches that you’re confident in, but also pitches that are within the range of what the batter can hit,” Park said. “There’s a lot of difference between a strike and a ball, so you have to throw a lot of pitches early on.” The emphasis on timely pitches also came in the same vein.스포츠토토

Unfortunately for the national team pitcher, the 36-year-old veteran also has a powerful weapon. Baek Jung-hyun, who has rebounded this season, exemplified the “ideal pitch” that Park emphasised on the day.

On the day, Baek’s fastball topped out at 141 kilometres per hour and averaged just 138 kilometres per hour. In a KBO league that features pitchers with 160km fastballs, Baek’s velocity was unremarkable, making his resurgence this season all the more relevant.

Even with the ‘not-so-fast’ fastball, Baek was confident. He scattered nearly half of them for 47 runs. His strike rate was a whopping 74.5 per cent (35/47). This shows how powerful a well-pitched ball can be.

The Doosan batsmen swung at the first pitch with determination. They seemed to realise that this was the best way to deal with Baek’s aggressive approach to the strike zone.

However, the results were disappointing. Doosan batters took nine pitches from Baek, but only two of them resulted in hits.

He also struck out just three times. He’s not the type of pitcher to get a lot of strikeouts, but he didn’t have to work too hard to get them. Throwing pitches around the strike zone, the Doosan hitters really came out swinging, and I was able to get through the inning with ease.

I threw 25 pitches with my changeup and 15 and 14 pitches with my curve and slider, respectively. I got three strikeouts (two with my changeup and one with my slider) with pitches that dropped low. He had a knife-edge fastball that crossed the plate, and Doosan hitters had no choice but to swing at it if it came close to being a strike.

After a career-high season in 2021 with a 14-5 record and 2.63 ERA, Baek signed a four-year, 3.8 billion won free agent contract with Samsung, but struggled last year with a 4-13 record and 5.27 ERA. Has he grown as much as he has suffered? This season, he has rebounded with a 3-3 record and 2.80 ERA in eight games. In particular, his performance in four games since the 30th of last month against the KT Wiz is overwhelming with two wins and an ERA of 1.04.

He is a very quiet player, but he is sending a message to young pitchers with his example pitching that is more powerful than a hundred words. Coach Park, who always says, “I’m not a pitcher,” when it comes to pitching, can’t be more supportive of Baek Jung-hyun, who is on his way to becoming the ideal pitcher.

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