“Kim Do-young talks about the team waiting for the ‘Moon-Kim match’, hoping that Do-young would get better soon to face him

In his second start of the season on April 12 against the Gwangju KIA, Moon Dong-ju (20, Hankook) showed off his potential with a six-inning, three-hit shutout with two walks and six strikeouts.

He created a lot of buzz when he became the first Korean pitcher to break the “dream 160km/h” barrier in the KBO when he threw a 160.1km/h fastball against Park Chan-ho in the first inning. It was even more significant because he did it against his hometown team, KIA, and in Gwangju, where he grew up. Moon appeared in 13 games last year, but never against KIA.

However, one matchup that was highly anticipated by fans did not materialize. It was against Kim Do-young (20‧KIA), a player his age. The reason was an injury. Kim, who started the season as the team’s starting third baseman, injured his left foot on April 2 against SSG in Incheon and was on the operating table. The big bang of talent that represents the KBO and will lead the league in the future had to wait until later.

At the time, Moon Dong-joo lamented Dong-gi’s injury, saying, “I couldn’t play because Do-young was sick,” and wished him well, saying, “I hope the day will come when Do-young will get better and I can play (with him).” Time passed, and the matchup was about to happen. Moon Dong-joo will start against the Gwangju KIA on the 6th, and Kim Do-young is very likely to be in the starting lineup. The two players are expected to go head-to-head for two or three at-bats on the 6th, and fans are eagerly anticipating the matchup.

While this is a matchup of two of the KBO’s top talents, the “story” behind their selection adds to the excitement. In high school, Dongseong-go Kim Do-young was known as the “second Lee Jong-bum” with all five tools, while Jinheung-go Moon Dong-joo attracted attention with his strong shoulder that can throw fastballs over 150 kilometers per hour. This is why KIA, which has the first pick in the local draft, had at least two to three years to decide. It wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary for them to pick any player, and it made sense.

While KIA highly valued Moon’s talent, they felt they needed Kim Do-young more than Moon, given the team’s situation at the time and their future plans for the outfield. So Kim Do-young donned the KIA jersey, and Moon landed in the arms of Hanwha, who had the first pick in the national draft. Moon received a 500 million won contract, while Kim received 400 million won. And as expected, the two players settled in as the team’s present and future.

Moon Dong-ju has been working his way through the starting rotation in earnest this year, going 6-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 18 games through May, throwing 93 innings. With his fastball and ever-improving command of the game and control of his pitches, he has emerged as one of the best starting pitchers in Korea. He also earned a spot on the Asian Games roster.

Kim Do-young has also bounced back from injury. In 28 games, she is batting .331 with two home runs and nine doubles. Most importantly, he’s been able to generate more than two doubles and has an OPS of 0.863. With his ability to hit for power and his explosive power, it’s easy to see why Kia had a tough choice in selecting Kim Do-young.안전놀이터

Amidst the outpouring of fan interest, managers also seem to recognize the importance. “It’s a very good matchup for baseball promotion,” Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho laughed, “I hope Kim Do-young gets a hit and Moon Dong-ju is the winning pitcher, then we’ll have a tie.” Kia head coach Kim Jong-kook called for calm. “It’s interesting,” he said, “but you have to think of it as one of the opposing pitchers. I think the player who is more agitated will do better.”

Kim Do-young, one of the other players in the explosive matchup, said he tries to keep his mind off it as much as possible, but he also recalled old memories. Although they went to high school in the same area, they didn’t face off as much as they thought they would. “We played each other a few times in practice, but the only time we played each other in a regular game was in a weekend league,” Kim recalled, adding, “I got (hits) in the regular game, but I got hit a lot in practice.”

In the end, Kim said that the team’s results are more important than individual results. “We don’t see each other very often because we’re busy,” Kim said, emphasizing that she wants the team to win regardless of my performance. Moon Dong-joo probably feels the same way. After all, he’s just another player on the Kia lineup that they’ll have to face today. They will have to face each other countless times in the future. A huge spotlight will be shining on the Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on June 6 to see who will be able to smile with a team victory.

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