Yang Hyun-jong (35, KIA), who moved into sole possession of second place on the KBO’s all-time wins list with 162 career wins, has a slightly jagged delivery on his four-seam fastball these days. His fastball tops out in the high 140s, but he also occasionally throws it in the 130s. 먹튀검증
Every player has their own routine, and it’s not easy to change that routine once it’s established. This is especially true for Yang Hyun-jong, who has 162 wins, but lately he’s been throwing a slower fastball. It’s the so-called “jibe” that players often talk about on the field. He throws it like a fastball, but with a different velocity, as if he were throwing a changeup. It’s meant to throw hitters off their timing.
He didn’t throw it out of nowhere. Yang said he’s been practicing the ‘jibe’ steadily in recent years. “It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to practice consistently and get the feel of it. In fact, it’s a dangerous pitch. It’s literally just a slow fastball. If you’re in the middle of the zone or hitters are looking for it, you can get hit with something big. But basically, Yang has a fastball and a variety of pitches to go with it. He’s got a good command of his stuff. So it could work.
“It’s more about adjusting your arm swing than it is about adjusting your power,” said Yoon Seok-min, a KBO Triple Crown veteran and Sportime Baseball expert. “It’s a matter of feeling rather than practicing,” he says, “and if you take a fastball hard, your body will let go. Yang has a very good changeup. It doesn’t look that good when you’re playing catch, but when hitters see it, it’s really good. That’s why he’s late with his fastball. That’s why it works,” he explained.
Kim Kwang-hyun (35‧SSG), a left-hander the same age as Yang, is also a living legend in the KBO. When asked about Yang’s ‘fastball,’ Kim said, “I don’t throw a fastball. Instead, I use a slider to change speeds,” he explained. Since returning from the major leagues, Kim hasn’t just stuck to his high-speed slider. He also throws sliders in the 120 mph range. His slider was so slow that it was once categorized as a curveball.
Yoon said, “If you slow it down with a slider, hitters can’t get it in. If they’re looking for a slider and it’s slower than they thought, it looks like two different pitches. It’s bound to complicate the hitters’ minds.”
Kim Kwang-hyun’s slider is perceived as ‘fast’. He can still throw a slider in the mid-to-high 130s when he wants to. Hitters can’t help but notice his fastball-slider combo. He throws a slower slider, and nowadays he mixes in a curveball and a changeup, especially against right-handed hitters, which was unthinkable before. It’s now a strictly “four-pitch” pitcher’s pitch analysis. I’ve worked a lot on my curveball and changeup.
I used to be able to handle hitters with just my fastball, and I had a lot of power, but that’s not the case anymore. We’re both in our mid-30s now. My fastball velocity has gone down, and it’s still going down. It’s only going to get worse. The inability to hold on to the passing years is something both players have realized recently. When they look at the fastballs of Ahn Woo-jin (Ki) and other junior pitchers, their own pitches may look shabby for the first time in their lives.
But the ball has to be thrown. If you’ve made it through 15 years in the pros with the pattern you’ve been using, you have to make a pattern for the end of your career. This could be a changeup, a fastball, or a new pitch. These are players who would be in the KBO Hall of Fame if they retired right now, but they’re still trying to stay competitive against their younger counterparts. And they are still competitive enough to be called ‘aces’. That’s why we can look forward to seeing them finish off their legendary careers a little further down the road.