ERA 2.69 1st, Starter & Bullpen Harmony… Will the KIA mound change this year?

In the exhibition game, the 2023 mound of the KIA Tigers is showing the numbers of hope. As of the 26th, the team’s average ERA is 2.69, proudly ranking first. It is lower than LG (2.94), which ranked first in the regular league last year. It may not be very discriminatory because it is an exhibition game, not only against elite hitters, but it is still an encouraging figure. 

Last year, KIA’s regular league ERA was 4.20, ranking메이저놀이터 5th in the league. As a starting pitcher, he finished sixth with a 3.91 ERA. His reliever ERA fell to 7th with a 4.70. Among the starting pitchers, there is no full-time pitcher with a 2-point ERA. Despite boasting the top team offense, the reason the mound failed to hold up in the end was the reason for the 50% win rate failure and the 5th place pull-up.

KIA made a move to strengthen the mound after the season last year. All two foreign pitchers who had a 2-point ERA were replaced. They recruited pitcher Shaun Anderson and Adonis Medina, who can throw 150km. LG recruited left-handed setup man Kim Dae-yu as a compensation player for FA Park Dong-won to reinforce the bullpen. 

Kim Ki-hoon, who can start and bullpen, joined at the end of the season with a discharge. Rookie pitcher Yoon Young-cheol joined the team with expectations of being a super rookie. In his second year, Choi Ji-min, a member of Geelong Korea, gained position, speed, and confidence through actual matches in the Australian League. Certainly new forces have emerged in the starting and bullpen. 

It is showing its new strength in the demonstration game. Anderson posted an excellent performance with an ERA of 1.20 even though he didn’t throw 100% in three games. Yoon Young-cheol gave up only 1 run in 13⅓ innings in 3 games, including the Futures game, with outstanding pitching. Lim Ki-young, who is competing for the 5th starting pitcher, also went scoreless in 2 games. 

Choi Ji-min, who is considered a key player, is posting a respectable ERA of 2.70 while doing her part in the bullpen as expected. Three quarters rookie Kwak Do-gyu, who appeared like a comet, helped the bullpen by throwing scoreless pitches in five games. Lee Jun-yeong, who recorded a career high last year, also shows the stability of 2.40 ERA. 

He, of course, also has a worrying passage. Pilseungman Jeon Sang-hyun (5.06) and starter Medina (5.11) failed to show a strong performance. Finisher Jung Hae-young is recording 1.80, but his velocity was in the late 130km range. He has the homework to improve his pitch as much as possible until the start of the season. Director Kim Jong-guk also said, “I’m a little worried, but it will come up when the time comes.” 

First of all, it seems clear that the mound has improved from last year in terms of quality and quantity. As much as that, the selection and bullpen are in harmony. The mound, which has been attracting attention since spring camp, is showing its strength. Now, it has become important to express that power as it is in the regular league. If the mound is strong, top grades are a matter of course. 

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