“Ko Woo-suk’s breaking ball, San Diego weapon” U.S. media expectations and concerns about KBO save king

“The San Diego Padres believe Ko Woo-suk’s cut fastball will be a weapon.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune, a local media outlet in San Diego, mentioned Ko Woo-suk’s 2024 season prospects on the 9th (Korea time). The media said, “Ko Woo-suk’s fastball speed ranged from 94 to 96 miles (151km to 154km), and his maximum speed went up to 98 miles (158km). San Diego believes that Ko’s 82 miles (131km) curve and 90 to 92 miles (144km to 148km) cut fastball will be weapons,” expressing expectations for Ko.헤라카지노도메인

It is predicted that Ko Woo-suk will compete for the position of closing pitcher. Until recently, Josh Hader, a top-class Major League closing pitcher, was in charge of San Diego’s back door, but San Diego is in a position to find a new closing pitcher because he left the team after being qualified as an FA. Ko is expected to compete with Robert Suarez, an existing resource, and Yuki Matsui, a Japanese pitcher who joined San Diego this winter, for the position of closing pitcher starting with spring training.

The San Diego Union-Tribune said, “With Hader expected to transfer, Ko Woo-suk can compete with Suarez and Matsui for the position of closer,” noting that Ko Woo-suk is also San Diego’s next closer candidate.

Ko Woo-seok, one of the best closing pitchers in Korean baseball, is from Chungam High School and joined the LG Twins in 2017 as the first pick. Since then, he has shown rapid growth and secured LG’s closing pitcher position. He recorded 8 wins, 2 losses, 35 saves, and an ERA of 1.52 in 65 games in 2019 and 4 wins, 2 losses, 42 saves, and an ERA of 1.48 in 61 games in 2022 season. He also became the youngest player to win the title of 40 saves in the KBO League.

However, the 2023 season was full of regrets. Ko suffered a shoulder injury at the World Baseball Classic just before the opening of the season, and had to suffer from sluggish performance afterward. Ko had three wins, eight losses, 15 saves and an ERA of 3.68 in 44 games.

Despite his poor performance, Ko was asked by his Major League club to check his identity. Ko declared his bid to enter the U.S. and LG also allowed him to post. Ko dramatically signed a two-year, 4.5 million-dollar contract with San Diego ahead of the posting deadline. Ko became the 28th Korean Major Leaguer.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Ko Woo-Suk grew into a closing pitcher in 2019 and posted 35 saves and one hold. In addition, he struck out 76 batters and posted an ERA of 1.52 in 71 innings. In 2022, he struck out 80 strikeouts and posted a career-high 42 saves in 60 ⅔ innings. However, Ko’s ERA increased to 3.68 in the 2023 season, and he recorded only 15 saves. The season just before he entered the Major League was not good enough,” referring to Ko’s career performance.

The San Diego Union-Tribune then explained why San Diego recruited Ko Woo-suk, saying, “LG clubs will also receive some of the posting costs. LG’s posting costs are around $900,000 (about 1.2 billion won). San Diego put aside concerns about Ko’s control and focused on Ko’s 31.1% swing rate and 65.8% inducement of grounders in the 2023 season.”

There is a Korean player playing for San Diego. Kim Ha-sung, the winner of the Gold Glove in the 2023 National League Utility Division, is active. With the help of Kim Ha-sung, Ko Woo-suk will likely be able to quickly adapt to unfamiliar U.S. culture and the San Diego club. On top of that, the fact that Lee Jung-hoo is also playing for the San Francisco Giants, a rival team in the district, is expected to be a big help to Ko.

The San Diego Union-Tribune said, “There is Kim Ha-sung in the San Diego clubhouse. Lee Jung-hoo also moved to San Francisco. It will be easier for Ko Woo-seok to adapt to his new country,” adding, “As San Diego will play the Major League’s opening game against the LA Dodgers in March at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Ko Woo-seok may have a chance sooner.”

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