You will also have plenty of opportunities. He told me that I hope you will never give up and hold on to the end.”
Doosan Bears sidearm Choi Won-jun (29) visited SSG coach Kim Won-hyung ahead of the Jamsil SSG Landers match on the 26th of last month. SSG’s training was going on at the ground, and when Choi Won-jun watched the players hitting from behind the batting cage, he walked up to Coach Kim’s side, greeted him, and talked for a while.
He needed a place to vent his frustration. Wonjun Choi graduated from Dongguk University and joined Doosan as a first-round draft pick in 2017, and began to display his skills in the first team in earnest in the 2019 season. 2019 was also the year that Manager Kim began serving as Doosan’s pitching coach. Coach Kim was by his side when Choi Won-jun got the opportunity as a replacement starting pitcher during the 2020 season and had his first 10-win season in his career. Coach Kim was a leader who watched Won-Jun Choi fully as he was just blooming and was a great help to him to help him blossom again. Although Coach Kim left Doosan and has been taking charge of SSG since 2021, Won-Jun Choi maintained a relationship with Coach Kim, the leader who knows him best, often asking for advice.
This year, Wonjun Choi is going through the most difficult season since his professional debut. He solidified his position as a domestic ace by winning 10 wins in 2020 and 12 wins in 2021, and while remaining at 8 wins last year, he had a strong will to make a leap forward this year. However, he only had 3 wins, 9 losses, 94⅓ innings, and an ERA of 5.06 in 22 games. In the end, he was removed from the starting rotation in the middle of last month and had to move to the bullpen. This was unthinkable when he was evaluated as the ace leading the domestic starting team just two years ago.
Coach Kim brought up his own experience as a player and soothed Choi Won-jun’s difficult feelings. Coach Kim graduated from Jeon High School and began his professional career with the Ssangbangwool Raiders in 1991, winning a total of 134 games until his retirement in 2010. Although he has only had four 10-win seasons, it is still valuable considering the number of wins he has accumulated over 20 years of consistent professional play. Based on this experience, Director Kim emphasized to Choi Won-jun not to be too excited about his grades right away.
Choi Won-jun said, “The manager also said that even though he has over 130 wins, there has never been a season in which he won 10 games every year as a starting pitcher. Now, young kids are going (as starters), but you will also get plenty of opportunities. I hope you never give up and hold on until the end. “He told me the story,” he said, telling the story behind it.
He continued, “I had a good season with the coach, so I think I ask for a lot of help and rely on him a lot. When I go to Incheon Stadium and when the coach comes to Jamsil, I always visit and talk to him, and we call him often. We talk like that. “I think this helps a lot,” he added, expressing his gratitude.
Is it thanks to you? Choi Won-jun started against the Jamsil KIA Tigers on the 7th and pitched well in 5 innings, allowing 59 pitches, 4 hits, 4 walks, 1 strikeout, and no runs, earning his 3rd win of the season. It was an opportunity to pitch as a substitute starting pitcher about a month after he moved to the bullpen, and Choi Won-jun sufficiently proved his worth. He hit the ball with more force than usual, recording a maximum fastball speed of 143 km and an average speed of 140 km, and he also worked well with breaking balls such as sliders, curves, and change-ups. 6th place Doosan won 3-0, stopping 5th place KIA’s 10th consecutive win and laying the foundation for their hopes of reaching the semifinals. It is now 3 games behind KIA.
If the blister on his right middle finger had not peeled off during practice pitching ahead of the top of the 6th inning, he could have pitched more than 6 innings. He performed 200% of his duties as a replacement starting pitcher. Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop had made it clear that Choi Won-jun would have to prove himself with results to continue to have the opportunity to start, but he took the first step.
Choi Won-jun expressed his thoughts, saying, “The opposing team had a good atmosphere and good batting, so I thought not to give them the first run. Our bullpen was good, so I thought they would provide enough protection from behind. I didn’t think about 5 or 6 innings, but thought about one inning at a time.”
In addition to Director Kim, he expressed gratitude to those around him who gave him helpful advice. Doosan home manager Yang Eui-ji and LG pitcher Lim Chan-gyu were especially helpful.
Choi Won-jun said, “I thought it wasn’t that bad when the season started, but I think I was shaken because people around me said that (my velocity) had dropped a lot. I think it was good that (Yang) Eui-ji gave me confidence by saying, ‘There’s no problem at all, your ball is good.’ . Another thing I am grateful to is Ui-hyung. Although he must have been having a hard time, he said he would start as catcher if I went out, so I was grateful. It was very difficult this year, but Ui-hyung helped me a lot and gave me a lot of good words, so I think I am holding on well even for the last time.”바카라
He continued, “Ui-ji also said that he has had ups and downs while playing baseball. He said that since ups and downs are not unique to you, he would like you to not think too big and keep things simple on the mound. I think what he said when he said that he thinks too much was helpful. LG “I’m also grateful to Lim Chan-gyu. He said a lot of nice things to me when we played against LG last week,” he added.
It is true that the resurrection has been announced, but it is too early to laugh. Only by surviving the competition for replacement starting pitchers with Choi Seung-Yong and Park Shin-Ji can he continue to secure the next starting pitching schedule.
Choi Won-jun said, “It is right for the better player to go out first. I was not good, so I accepted (being sent to the bullpen). I was a nuisance to the team, so I think that’s why I threw a little more concentration. Today (the 7th) was the same, if I couldn’t throw, “The opportunity would have gone to another pitcher. I always have that thought in my mind. This is a competitive place. I have no choice but to show,” he said, pledging to continue to do his best in the opportunities given.