The Rookie of the Year can only be awarded once in a lifetime. So it means more. This year is a good year for special rookies. Already at the beginning of the season, close to 10 Rookie of the Year candidates are competing fiercely.
Before the season, the spotlight was on Kim Seo-hyeon (19) of the Hanwha Eagles, who was nominated as the first overall pick in the rookie draft. As soon as Kim Seo-hyun made his professional debut, he is performing well as a relief pitcher in the first team stage. He has already appeared in 12 games and has a 2.08 earned run average. On the 12th, he recorded his first professional debut save against SSG Landers. He pitched 13 innings, striking out a whopping 19. He is averaging 1.46 strikeouts per inning.
Looking at his performance alone, players who are ahead of Kim Seo-hyun stand out. A representative player is SSG Landers right-hander Song Young-jin (19). After graduating from Daejeon High School, Song Young-jin, who was selected as the 15th overall pick in the 2nd round of the rookie draft, has established himself as an axis of the SSG selection team. He has 3 wins, no losses and an earned run average of 3.95, leading the rookie pitcher in wins.
Following Kim Seo-hyun, left-hander Yoon Young-chul (19), who was nominated by the KIA Tigers as the second overall pick in the first round, also took his place as a starting pitcher. He started in six games and is cruising with a 2-1 record and a 3.49 earned run average. In the last 4 games, they have been blocking the opponent’s batting line with 5 or more innings and 3 runs or less.
‘Starting 10 wins’ is no different from a rookie king’s guarantee check. Recently, Ryu Hyun-jin in 2006 (18 wins, Hanwha Eagles at the time, current Toronto Blue Jays), Shin Jae-young (15 wins, retired) in 2016, and So Joon So-jun (13 wins, KT Wiz) in 2020 won more than 10 wins as a starting pitcher and became the Rookie of the Year. occupied If Song Young-jin and Yoon Young-cheol win more than 10 wins as starters, they will have an advantage in the rookie competition.
Among the relief pitchers, Park Myeong-geun (19), who has established himself as a surefire team for the LG Twins, stands out. Park Myung-geun, who throws a fast ball that reaches 150km even with a sidearm, is considered strong for his steel guts that do not shake even in a crisis. As of the 23rd, he has appeared in 20 games, recording 1 win, 3 saves and 4 holds with an ERA of 2.95. The number of appearances, saves, and holds all rank first among rookies.
Among the batters, Kim Min-seok (19, Lotte Giants), who is expected to be the ‘second Lee Jung-hoo’, draws attention. He has already appeared in 32 games and earned a starting job with a batting average of .260, 1 home run, 13 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. It is receiving more attention in line with Lotte’s blast at the beginning of the season. Recently, he has been playing steadily as a leadoff for Lotte.
The performance of newcomers is also evident. In the KBO League, pitchers with less than 30 cumulative pitching innings within 5 years of joining and batters with less than 60 cumulative at-bats within 5 years will retain their rookie qualifications.
NC Dinos right-hander Lee Yong-jun (21) made his debut in 2021, but he has maintained his rookie status by throwing only 23⅔ innings in the first team until last year. He has appeared in 7 games this season and is 2-1 with a 2.45 earned run average. At first, he was a reliever pitcher, but he has been a starting pitcher ever since he became a temporary starter to fill the vacancy of foreign pitcher Taylor Widener, who lost due to injury.
Doosan Bears second-year right-hander Kim Dong-ju (21) is also a good candidate for rookie of the year. Kim Dong-joo, who only pitched 16⅔ innings in 10 relief appearances last year, has emerged as a hope for Doosan starters this season. He is 2-2 with a 2.08 earned run average in 7 starts. He ranks 5th overall in earned run average and 1st among rookie pitchers among pitchers who have thrown 25 or more innings this season.안전놀이터
Moon Dong-joo (20, Hanwha Eagles), who throws a 160km fastball, is slowing down recently, unlike when he was selected as the ‘0’ rookie of the year candidate. He is 2-4 with a 4.50 earned run average in 7 starts. However, if he quickly regains his pace, he still has a good chance of becoming the number one candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.
In addition, Kim Dong-heon (19), who is attracting attention as the next-generation main catcher of the Kiwoom Heroes, and Moon Hyun-bin (19), who played as a starting member in the opening game of the Hanwha Eagles, are worthy of continued attention as rookies.