KT Baseball’s “Reliable Man” Park Young-hyun, 19, has revealed his desire to win his first title.
The right-handed pitcher joined KT as the first overall pick last year. In his rookie season, he went 1-0 with a 3.66 ERA in 52 games.
In his second year, Park has stepped up his game. In 61 games (64⅔ innings), he posted a 3.06 ERA with a 3-3 record, 28 saves, and four shutouts.
He was especially impressive in the month of August, earning a nomination for the monthly Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Park appeared in 15 of the 23 games in August, recording 10 holds and three saves. From the 2nd against SSG in Suwon to the 16th against Doosan in Jamsil, he pitched eight consecutive games without allowing an earned run.
With 10 more holds in August alone, Park now leads the league with 28 holds on the season. He is well ahead of Noh Kyung-eun (SSG), who is in second place with 22 holds, and is well on his way to winning his first career title.
The first game of a three-game midweek series against LG in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ was held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on May 5. “Being in first place in the standings, I feel like I have a lot of ambition to win the title,” Park said in an interview with CBS North Carolina News before the game.
In July, Young-hyun Park appeared in 11 games and collected five holds, but suffered one loss and posted a disappointing 9.35 ERA. He gritted his teeth in August and rebounded, earning a nomination for monthly MVP.
Looking back on the month of August, Park Young-hyun said, “As I was sluggish in July, I made up my mind in August.” He added, “My mental state was very bad when I was struggling, but my brothers gave me a lot of good advice, which gave me a lot of motivation.” “I regained my confidence from the end of July, and I think it paid off when I started again in August,” he added.
While most rookies suffer from the second-year jinx, Young-hyun has actually improved. “I heard the phrase ‘second-year jinx’ too many times,” he said, “and I think I prepared harder because I had a great desire to break the jinx.”
KT went through a rough patch in the early part of the season, falling to the bottom of the standings, but Young-hyun Park continued to perform consistently and protect the mound.
Although he is only in his second year, Young-hyun felt a heavy responsibility. “On days when I didn’t throw well, I felt very bad,” he recalled, “and there was a lot of pressure on me not to do as well as the team.”
Since then, however, KT has been on a steep upward trajectory and has climbed to second place. They are currently 6.5 games behind first-place LG.
“I made a bet with pitching coach Je Chun-mo before the season,” he said, “that if I could get more than 20 holds, I wouldn’t have to join the finishing camp.”안전놀이터
However, he has already exceeded his goal and is on track to win his first title. “I think I need to be more greedy for the title of hold king,” Park said, “and if the team is winning, I will go up to the mound with the idea of blocking it unconditionally.”
Park has been named to the Korean National Team roster for the Hangzhou 2023 Asian Games in late September. “There are less than 20 games left until the Asian Games,” he said, “and I want to build up as many holds as I can before I go.”
“My goal is to win a gold medal at the Asian Games and win the Korean Series,” Park concluded. “It’s important that I don’t get injured and finish well,” he added.