Hwang Joon-seo, the starting pitcher of the debut match

Hanwha won seven consecutive games by sweeping all three consecutive weekend games against kt at home.

The Hanwha Eagles, led by head coach Choi Won-ho, scored 18 hits, including two home runs, in a home game against the 2024 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League kt Wiz at Hanwha Life Insurance Eagles Park in Daejeon on the 31st, winning a 14-3 victory. Hanwha maintained its lone lead over the second-ranked KIA Tigers (7 wins and 1 loss), as its batting line exploded to the point where it recorded 11 hits, two homers and 11 runs in three innings against Wes Benjamin, a foreign ace of KT who won 15 games last year.

Lee Do-yoon, who hit a timely double with two outs and runners on first and second bases in the second inning, became the star of the final hit, while Moon Hyun-bin had four hits, four RBIs and three runs, Jonathan Peraza had two hits (one homer) and two runs, and Noh Si-hwan had two hits (one homer) and three RBIs and one run. In fact, Hanwha made its debut as a professional instead of Kim Min-woo, who postponed his appearance due to symptoms of gallbladder disease. However, Hwang Joon-seo, an “interim starter,” showed off the prowess of the No. 1 rookie overall by winning his first professional appearance with three hits, five strikeouts and one run in five innings.

From 2020 to 2022, Hanwha ranked at the bottom for three consecutive years. Of course, the lowest ranking for the third consecutive year is a shameful performance, but the team has been able to recruit the best high school baseball pitcher for the past three years in the rookie draft. Of course, there is no guarantee that all the promising players brought by Hanwha will grow into representatives of the KBO league, but selecting and raising the best gemstone is not as rewarding to the team, coaching staff and fans as it is to select and raise the best gemstone.

After selecting a national draft pick for the 2022 Rookie of the Year, Hanwha waited for the KIA Tigers to name him. And when KIA named Dongsung High School infielder Kim Do-young, who was considered the “best fielder,” Hanwha naturally named Jinheung High School’s Moon Dong-ju, who was the “best pitcher.” Of course, since so many promising players since Ryu Hyun-jin disappointed Hanwha fans with their disappointing performances, there were also many skeptical views about Moon Dong-ju, who turned into a pitcher after entering high school.

However, Moon Dong-joo, who had one win, three losses and two holds of 5.65 ERA in 13 games in the rookie season, gave Hanwha the Rookie of the Year title for the first time in 17 years since Ryu Hyun-jin in 2006 with an 8-8 loss and ERA of 3.72. Moon Dong-joo, who was named the next right-hander ace to lead the future of Korean baseball through the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship last year, won his first victory of the season with two runs in five innings against the SSG Landers on the 28th.

As Shim Joon-seok (Pittsburgh Pirates) of Deoksu High School, who was considered the biggest player in the 2023 Rookie Draft, declared his bid for the Major League, another fastball player Kim Seo-hyun joined the Hanwha Eagles as the No. 1 overall pick. At the 2022 U-18 World Cup, Kim excited Hanwha clubs and fans by throwing fastballs that exceeded 160 kilometers per hour. However, Kim was sluggish in 20 games during the rookie season with one save ERA of 7.25.

Realizing the high wall of the professional, Kim Seo-hyun tried to supplement his control by correcting his pitching form through the closing camp and spring camp and was included in the opening entry for the second consecutive year. Kim Seo-hyun never got a chance to play while Hanwha won six consecutive games after losing the opening game, but took the mound in the sixth inning with an 11-1 lead against kt on the 31st and blocked two innings perfectly with just 16 balls. Kim Seo-hyun did not strike out at all, but showed off his stable control, with 12 strikes out of 16.

The 10th high school graduate to win the starting title in his debut match

Hwang Joon-seo, who has been called the best left-hander in high school since Jangchung High School, was evaluated as a better pitcher than his rival Jang Hyun-suk (LA Dodgers) in high school, even though his ball speed was a little slower. In particular, the prevailing assessment was that the movement to hide the ball with a soft pitching form already exceeded the level of high school baseball. Some praised Hwang Joon-seo for having as much talent as Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG), and others described him as “Yoon Young-cheol (KIA) with a fast ball.”

As rival Jang Hyun-suk challenged the Major League, Hwang Joon-seo was nominated by Hanwha as the first overall pick, beating Incheon High School’s Kim Taek-yeon (Doosan Bears). In fact, from Hanwha’s point of view, the nomination of left-hander Hwang Joon-seo was a natural step because they have nominated right-hander prospects Moon Dong-ju and Kim Seo-hyun over the past two years. Hwang Joon-seo was included in the list of spring camps held in Melbourne, Australia, and Okinawa, Japan, even though he was a rookie, and showed that he was competitive as a starter through good pitching in practice games.

However, as Ryu Hyun-jin returned to the Hanwha Eagles on Feb. 22 for an eight-year total of 17 billion won, Hanwha’s starting lineup this season consisted of Ryu Hyun-jin, Felix Peña, Ricardo Sanchez, Moon Dong-ju and Kim Min-woo. Hwang Joon-seo, who was competing for the starting lineup in the spring camp, was not included in the opening entry and was scheduled to receive starting classes in the Futures League. However, Kim Min-woo, who won the starting game in his first appearance of the season, skipped the game once due to bone spasm in his left wing, and manager Choi Won-ho selected rookie Hwang Joon-seo as an alternative starter.

Even a rookie who joined the team after receiving a large down payment is highly excited and nervous about his debut as a professional. Hwang, however, pitched 73 pitches during the five innings on the day, effectively blocking the KT Wiz lineup by allowing three hits, two walks, five strikeouts and one run, and secured the win. Although he hit a solo home run by Moon Sang-cheol in the fourth inning, Hwang consistently threw his pitches on the mound without panicking at all. This made Hwang the 10th rookie pitcher with a high school diploma in the history of the KBO League to record a starting win in his debut game.

As Hwang Joon-seo, who was Kim Min-woo’s replacement starter, won the starting game, all five starting pitchers except Ryu Hyun-jin won the game. Ryu Hyun-jin is also recovering his condition by recording his first quality start of the season with nine strikeouts and two runs in six innings in his second appearance on the 29th. If Hwang Joon-seo, who showed impressive pitching in his professional debut, gets another chance to start and Kim Min-woo returns healthy, Hanwha will have as many as six reliable starting pitchers from the beginning of the season.

BY: 사설토토

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