Kim Kwang-hyun said 80%…KBO 159km express ace is 50% ‘How did this happen’
“When I go out there, the team should have an 80% chance of winning. I have to have that kind of faith.”
This is what SSG ace Kim Kwang-hyun said when he returned to the KBO ahead of the 2022 season. He said that regardless of whether he wins or loses, the most important thing is for SSG to win on the day he pitches. The logic is that if it becomes 80%, his teammates will have faith in the ace and the opponent will have pressure.
This is the definition of an ace. In fact, there are tons of secondary stats to evaluate starting pitchers. But all pitchers have one fundamental purpose. To win games. They want their pitches to have a close impact on the team’s victory, and they plan their game plan accordingly.
Kim Kwang-hyun believes that, at least for an ace, his team should have an 80% win percentage on the day he pitches. He proved it last season. This season is off to a slightly worse start than last year, but there is faith that the team will eventually converge on a high winning percentage.
안전놀이터 The best pitcher in the KBO over the past two to three years is Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom). Kiwoom should win a lot of games when Ahn is on the mound. Their offense isn’t as strong as SSG’s, so they need to take advantage of Ahn’s starts.
However, in the 10 games that Ahn has pitched this season, Kiwoom is 5-5. That’s no consolation prize. Considering the power of Ahn Woo-jin and the fact that Kiwoom is not the strongest team in the league, we should follow Kim’s logic and take at least an 80% win rate.
Ahn Woo-jin’s pitching schedule and Kiwoom’s record in the 2023 season
April 1, 6 innings, 5 hits, 12 strikeouts and 2 walks against Hanwha in Gocheok 3-2 win in the No Doubt Series
April 7, Changwon NC 7 innings, 2 hits (1 home run), 12 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 run, 0-2 loss
April 13, 6 innings, 3 hits, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, no runs allowed against Doosan in Jamsil 9-2 win
April 19, Gocheok Samsung Electronics 6 innings, 5 hits, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 runs, no earned runs 5-9 L
April 25, 7 innings, 1 hit, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk, no runs against KT, 1-0 win
April 30 Against Busan Lotte, 5 innings, 6 hits, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 runs (1 earned), 3-5 loss in the N.D.L.
May 6, 7 innings against Gocheok SSG, 6 hits (1 HR), 10 strikeouts, 2 runs (1 earned) 1-2 L
May 12, 7⅓ innings against Gocheok NC, 6 hits, 7 strikeouts, 4 walks, 3 runs, 7-4 win in the no-decision.
May 18, 6 innings, 6 hits, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 runs against Doosan in Gocheok 7-3 win
May 24, 5 innings, 4 hits, 8 strikeouts, 3 walks, 3 runs (2 earned) against Suwon KT 1-4 L
In his last 10 games, Ahn hasn’t given up more than one run. Eight quality starts. There’s a belief that if you go out there, you’re going to hold them to two runs or less for seven innings or more. However, there are only four games in which the Kiwoom offense has scored more than five runs on the day of Ahn’s start. There are many days when he pitches well but doesn’t get much run support.
The Kiwoom bats have gotten more seasoned this year with the addition of Lee Hyung-jong and Lee Won-seok, but they’re still a middle-to-lower tier power by most measures. That’s not to say their defense isn’t solid. There are some cracks in the offense, leaving Ahn Woo-jin lonely and hurting the team’s chances of winning. Kiwoom’s 19-25 record and eighth-place finish in the standings after their loss to Suwon KT on Nov. 24 is largely due to Ahn’s inability to improve his win percentage.
Ahn Woo-jin has matured a lot. Above all, he is ‘overpowering’. Based on this season’s stats alone, Eric Pedroia (NC) is the best. However, based on his consistency, impact, and power over the years, Ahn is definitely the KBO’s No. 1 pitcher. He may not hit 160 like Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha), but his all-around stuff, command, and game management are unrivaled.
Ultimately, Kiwoom should challenge for the title when Ahn is in his prime. With Lee Jeong-hoo leaving for the Major Leagues next year, they’ll be even more desperate to win. However, the reality of the first two months of the season is far from what they thought it would be.