“LG catcher’s secret weapon in the Peach Clock era.” Kim Sung-woo, “I’m confident with Songgu.”

The LG Twins won the Korean Series title for the first time in 29 years in the 2023 season. Now, the goal is a dynasty. There is a problem to be solved to achieve this. It is to strengthen the depth of the catcher’s lineup. There are main catcher Park Dong-won (33) and backup catcher Heo Do-hwan (39), but they are old and urgently need a third catcher.

Just in time, a new secret weapon appeared in LG’s second division. He is Kim Sung-woo (20), who showed off his potential in the Futures League with his excellent defense. I met Kim Sung-woo at Jamsil Baseball Stadium on the 14th and listened to Kim Sung-woo’s baseball story for the 2023 season. After overcoming the disappointment of the 2022 season, he has grown into a second-tier catcher for the 2023 season

Kim Sung-woo, who wore an LG uniform as the seventh pick in the 2022 rookie draft, only played one match for the second tier team in 2022, his first year as a professional golfer. Due to injury, he failed to seize the opportunity to display his skills.

However, with stable defense capability in the 2023 season, Kim has effectively grown into the starting catcher for the second tier team. In his second year of high school, he played 57 games in the Futures League. Given that he played in one game in the 2022 season, he has achieved tremendous growth. The secret was to create his own routine.

“First of all, I tried to keep my routine the same. I woke up a little earlier than others, went to a sauna, and had breakfast. Then, I went to the baseball stadium after checking my physical condition while doing a program that fits my routine,” Kim said. “After that, I was able to stay healthy for one season.”

Kim Sung-woo, who had an encouraging season, showed better-than-expected batting performance. In the 2023 Futures League, he had a batting average of 0.252, one homer, nine RBIs, a slugging percentage of 0.330 and a on-base percentage of 0.342. Neither contact nor power showed their strengths. Considering that he had a batting average of 0.375 and an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 0.998 when he was a third grader at Baejae High School, the result was regrettable.

The 2023 season’s steal rate is 63.6%, LG’s secret weapon that will shine in the Peach Clock era

On the other hand, Kim displayed stellar defense. He instilled a sense of stability in pitchers through stable blocking. Notably, his ability to block stolen bases was unrivaled. He continuously stole second bases from the first half of the season, and posted a steal-blocking rate of 63.6 percent in the 2023 season. Yang Eui-ji, who ranks first in the first division in the 2023 season, had a steal-blocking rate of 48.2 percent. Although it is the Futures League, Kim far exceeded that mark.

Kim’s secret to stopping stolen bases comes from his fast pop time (the time from when he received the pitch to when he reached second base). Kim’s pop time is estimated at around 1.9 seconds. Considering that most catchers in the KBO League have pop time of around two seconds, he is displaying a “laser throw.”

“I had confidence in my original pitching. In terms of defense, I think my own mechanism has been established,” Kim said. “(When pop time) comes out well, the range of 1.8 is recorded. On average, I get 1.9,” he said, expressing strong confidence in blocking stolen bases.

Kim Seong-woo has his lethal move when he is dealing with left-handed hitters and blocking stolen bases. He moves his body quickly toward the left-handed batter’s box and then moves forward again to throw the ball with momentum. Through this process, strong throws are thrown to the second base. 경마사이트

When such a move is attempted, the exchange time (the time between shots from the pogo and the throwing motion) may be extended. However, Kim minimized it with a fast footwork. Thanks to this, he delivers strong and accurate throws to second base with fast pop time.

In response, Kim Seong-woo said, “Left-handed hitters have a lot of outer space. The idea was to utilize that space a little bit. He throws with all his energy to gain momentum. That’s why it’s easier for me to stop a left-handed hitter than right-handed hitters when he comes in,” introducing his own weapon.

This ability of Kim Sung-woo is very useful in the era of pitch clock starting from the 2024 season. It is pitch clock that pitchers have to pitch within a limited time. This is very disadvantageous to preventing stolen bases. When pitchers check runners, the most effective pattern is to hold the ball for a long time. However, this pattern cannot be used in the era of pitch clock. The catcher’s ability to throw is bound to become that important.

Kim already experienced pitch clock at the Icheon Champions Park, the home ground of LG’s second tier team in the 2023 season. Nevertheless, he stopped stealing 63.6 percent. “I thought it would be in my favor (when I heard about the introduction of pitch clock),” Kim said with a smile.

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