SSG dreaming of a ‘2nd consecutive victory’, the problem is over

In the 2022 KBO League, SSG Landers achieved its first combined championship two years after acquiring SK Wyverns. In the regular season, he went straight to the Korean Series with a ‘Wire-to-Wire Championship’ that did not lose first place for a single day. In the Korean Series, they defeated Kiwoom Heroes 4-2 and won the championship trophy.

SSG’s goal for 2023 is expected to naturally achieve a second consecutive victory in integration and build an ‘SSG dynasty’. However, in order for SSG to achieve its second consecutive victory, the imbalance of the pitching staff must be resolved.

The KBO League is suffering from a general lack of starting pitchers. Most of the 10 clubs have few domestic starting pitchers, making it difficult to fill the five-man starting rotation. It is a ‘gold price’ so that there are very few cases where a full-time starting pitcher is traded.

Analysts are suggesting that the reason why it is difficult to develop starting pitchers is that young pitchers are first assigned to the bullpen. As a coach who needs to produce team results right away, he is using talented prospects as starting pitchers rather than developing them as starting pitchers, which takes time. However, it is true that it is difficult for a bullpen pitcher who always waits and warms up frequently due to injuries.

However, SSG has more than enough starting pitchers to fill a five-man starting rotation. Three pitchers, including immovable ace Kim Kwang-hyun and new foreign pitching duo Kirk McCarty and Eni Romero, are guaranteed to be included in the starting rotation. It remains to be seen whether Kim Gwang-hyun, who is participating in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), will be physically burdened or whether new foreign pitchers will adapt to the KBO league, but it is difficult to assume a position other than starting.

The veteran duo Moon Seung-won and Park Jong-hoon, who returned from rehabilitation midway through last year’s season, are expected to join the normal starting rotation this year. They were also used as a bullpen last year, but it was reconfirmed that the selection was ‘clothes that fit the body’ because they did not perform well. The reason SSG signed large-scale non-FA long-term contracts with Moon Seung-won and Park Jong-hoon was because they expected steady performance as starters.

Left-handed pitcher Oh Won-seok, who is entering his 4th year in the 1st team, is a young gun that the SSG club needs to develop into a starting ace in the long term. It is desirable to entrust the selection not only for the value of the player himself, but also for the selection of the Hangzhou Asian Games team. 메이저놀이터

On the other hand, SSG’s bullpen is so loose that it’s hard to pick a clear closer. Seo Jin-yong, who recorded 21 saves last year, had an average ERA of 4.01 and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.715, making detailed indicators unstable. Kim Tae-Hoon was not included in the entry for the Korean Series as he started only 9 games in the regular season.

Last year, Kim Taek-hyung, who had 17 saves and 10 holds and went back and forth as a finisher and setup man, was decided to enlist as a managing director. Lee Tae-yang, who played the role of a swing man and played the role of the back of the mound, obtained FA qualification and moved to his home team, the Hanwha Eagles. The bullpen, which was SSG’s biggest weakness last year, has become even more vulnerable this year.

There is also a way to turn a starting pitcher into the bullpen, but as the case of Moon Seung-won and Park Jong-hoon showed last year, it is difficult to guarantee a settlement. It is also difficult to expect that another team will readily offer a strong bullpen pitcher that can be used as a winning team for a team aiming to win.

In order for SSG to build a dynasty again following the days of SK, securing a reliable bullpen pitcher has emerged as a task. It is noteworthy what SSG will choose to strengthen the bullpen between internal fostering and external recruitment.

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