Kiwoom left-handed bullpen pitcher Kim Jae-woong drew attention with an average ERA of 0 throughout the first half. In 2020, when general manager Son Hyuk of Hanwha was in charge of the command tower, he was suddenly selected for the first team. Although he is small in height, he has good vertical movement due to his high RBI, and his rotation rate is at a high level, so he has received favorable reviews for throwing a heavy ball.
Kim Jae-woong recorded an average ERA of 4.68 with 1 win, 4 losses and 2 holds in 43 games in 2020, and an average ERA of 3.54 with 1 loss, 1 save and 11 holds in 51 games in 2021. At first, he was a pursuit team, but gradually he was used in important situations, and in the 2022 season, he started as the main setup man responsible for the 8th inning.
Kim Jae-woong had an average ERA of 1.38 with 1 win and 8 holds in 13 games in April, an average ERA of 0.82 with 6 holds in 11 games in May, and zero ERA with 1 win and 7 holds in 14 games in June. As time passed, he evolved into an untouchable. In particular, from May 13 against KT (1 inning, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, no loss) to July 1 against Hanwha (1 inning, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk, no run), he showed off his strength by not allowing a run in 23 consecutive 토토 games.
Right after July 1st, the average ERA was a whopping 0.70. It was the ‘legendary instigator class average ERA’. While going scoreless in June, he had already entered the 0-point range, and continued to go down for a while, creating surprises. Based on the baseball statistics site Statties, the average fastball was 140.8 km, a whopping 64%. He mixed a changeup, slider and curveball, but his pitching design was relatively simple.
Even so, the ball that was laid low to the inside and outside was very difficult for hitters. There were some changes in his use of closers, but he was solid in the 8th inning. In the end, coach Hong Won-ki responded to the bullpen group hunting by turning Kim Jae-woong to the finisher in the second half, and at least the last bastion did not collapse significantly.
In fact, he had an average ERA of 4.35 with 1 win, 1 hold and 8 saves in 10 games in August, and 4.70 ERA with 2 losses and 5 saves in 10 games since September. However, he pitched perfectly with 1 save and zero ERA in 2 semi-playoff games against KT and 3 saves and 0 ERA in 3 playoff games against LG. It was the number one contributor to advancing to the Korean Series.
In particular, in the top of the 8th inning of the 3rd game of the semi-playoff against LG, Bokyung Moon kicked off a bunt from 1st and 2nd base, got up quickly and threw it to 2nd base, creating a double-out, which changed the whole series flow. It deserved to be in the top 3 of the entire postseason. Kim Jae-woong’s solid defense basics and cohesiveness stood out throughout.
Although, his power declined in the Korean Series, and he was shaken with an average ERA of 11.57 with 1 win and 1 hold in 4 games. However, Kiwoom fans, as well as other team fans and officials, highly praised Kim Jae-woong’s hard work. Kiwoom got a key reliever pitcher to lead the team for the next 10 years.
Kiwoom recruited Won Jong-hyeon, a veteran bullpen pitcher in the free agency market and a finishing pitcher who led the NC championship in 2020, and gave Kim Jae-woong powerful wings. Kim Jae-woong and Won Jong-hyun are expected to become Kiwoom’s powerful weapons in challenging its first championship.
Kim Jae-woong was included in the WBC 50-man interest list, but was not included in the 30-man final entry. It is rumored that he was selected around pitchers who have a lot of outstanding pitchers and who have certain weapons to beat major league hitters. It was a gateway that was not easy to penetrate for Kim Jae-woong, whose strength was vertical movement. However, at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, he can challenge the Taegeuk mark again. Above all, it is one of the most important puzzles in Kiwoom’s challenge for the Korean Series.