A surprise face was included in the opening entry for the KIA Tigers. Kwak Do-gyu (18), a rookie left-handed three-quarter pitcher, is the main character.

KIA submitted a first-team entry ahead of the opening of the 2023 KBO League on April 1. A total of 11 pitchers were registered for the first team entry, and there was a name that stood out, and Kwak Do-gyu was the only KIA rookie to be listed on the opening list.

Kwak Do-gyu, who was nominated by the KIA with the 42nd overall in the 5th round of the 2023 rookie draft, received the most attention along with left-handed pitcher Yoon Young-cheol, who competed for the 5th selection in the spring camp and exhibition game earlier. In fact, Kwak Do-gyu took the mound in 5 demonstration games and posted quite impressive results with 1 hit, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 1 hold, and zero ERA.

Yoon Young-chul, who showed a good performance, was selected as the 5th starter, and will be registered in the entry in time for the start date. In the end, Yoon Young-cheol and Kwak Do-gyu were among the KIA rookies in the 2023 season after fierce competition.

While KIA had many expected left-handed pitchers this year, the fact that Kwak Do-kyu, who did not receive much attention at the time of joining, was included in the roster can be somewhat unexpectedly accepted. However, Kwak Do-gyu showed considerable potential from the finishing camp attended by KIA coach Kim Jong-guk and first-team coaching staff in November last year.

At the time, coach Kim Jong-guk conveyed a good impression of Kwak Do-gyu, saying, “The angle of Kwak’s throwing arm, deception토토사이트, ball movement, and breaking ball are good,” and “among rookie pitchers, he definitely stands out.”

Kwak Do-gyu, who continued his good form at the Hampyeong spring camp following the Jeju finish camp, eventually showed off his strengths on the stage of the demonstration game without regret. In the rare characteristic of the left-handed three-quarter form, he showed the appearance of overpowering professional hitters by throwing fastballs with a maximum velocity of 148 km. As a result, he finished the exhibition match with a scoreless score.

The speed of his four-seam fastball, which was 144 km while attending Gongju High School, increased significantly in a few months as he joined KIA and received systematic training. In his demonstration game, Kwak Do-kyu raised his value by throwing a two-seam fastball with a maximum velocity of 146 km.

Of course, director Kim’s evaluation also went up. At the Media Day held on the 30th, coach Kim said, “Young-chul Yoon has been confirmed as the 5th starter. The performances shown in the spring camp and demonstration games are enough for the 5 starters,” he first mentioned Yoon Young-chul, the first candidate for the Rookie of the Year, and then added, “Kwak Do-gyu will also join the opening entry. He is a highly anticipated player. I hope you will watch over him and give him a lot of support.”

Kwak Do-gyu, whom the reporter met during last year’s finish camp, was also very impressive. At the time, Kwak Do-gyu said, “After lowering my arm into a three-quarter form, I developed strengths in deception and breaking balls, but personally, I think fastballs are also my strengths.” However, this is just my judgment, and I want to discuss with the coaching staff and decide which direction will be better.”

Kwak Do-gyu’s strength is that he is calm for his age and bold on the mound. KIA pitching coach Jeong Myeong-won also conveyed the impression he received from Kwak Do-gyu at the time, saying, “Looking at the bullpen pitching and behavior, it seems like a player playing in a (first team) game, that is, like a pitcher who has been playing for several years.”

A KIA official who watched the demonstration game all the time said, “There is a lot of fighting spirit. He seems to be the type who can do well in actual matches,” and also praised Kwak Do-gyu’s “fighting chicken temperament.”

Kwak Do-gyu threw a total of four pitches during his high school days: a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a slider, and a curveball. The pitches he was confident in were his four-seam fastball and two-seam fastball. Here he is developing his breaking ball proficiency.

At the time of the interview, Kwak Do-gyu said, “I tried both the selection and the bullpen even when I was an amateur, so there is no particular ‘which one is comfortable and which one is better’.” The coaches said, ‘It would be nice to be a relief pitcher against left-handed hitters,’ so I’m revising my form that way and I’m practicing a lot of pitching from the set position.”

And, as expected by Kwak Do-gyu, he is expected to be used as a bullpen agent in the first team to deal with left-handed hitters for the time being. In the future, competition for the first team will be fierce, but another notable KIA rookie named Kwak Do-gyu is about to make his thrilling debut.

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