For Moon Dong-ju (20, Hanwha), the official 160km fireballer of the KBO League, last May was a time of trial for the first time in his 20-year-old baseball life. He had a good start with an average ERA of 2.38 with 1 win and 2 losses in 4 games in April, but in May, he suddenly showed difficulty with an ERA of 8.22 with 1 win and 2 losses in 4 games. He noticeably increased his hit rate (.179 → .302) and walks per 9 innings (2.78 → 7.63).메이저놀이터
The beginning was the literature SSG exhibition on the 13th of last month. On this day, Moon Dong-ju collapsed with 7 hits, 3 walks, 2 walks and 7 runs in 2⅓ innings. Since his debut last year, he has given up the most runs and the least innings for a starter. The influence continued until the LG match in Jamsil on the 19th and the KIA match in Daejeon on the 25th. Both games went down after 5 innings with 3 runs in 4 innings. He didn’t lose his velocity, but his pitches were shaking and he couldn’t control the number of pitches.
However, in his first appearance in June, he returned to the Moon Dong-ju we knew. In the match against Kiwoom in Daejeon on the 1st, he won with 2 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts and no runs in 7 innings. He played the first 7 innings of his debut and pitched close to perfection with no runs. Moon Dong-joo said, “Recently, I was a little more nervous than usual because I wasn’t feeling well. He wanted to do well, but he knew that baseball was not going his way,” he said. He had to compete with the batter, but he tried to throw with force, so he got a lot of balls.”
No matter how good a pitcher is, if you play a long season, there are days when it collapses once or twice. However, it seems that the shock of 7 runs against SSG was quite big for Moon Dong-ju, who was 20 years old and did not have much experience. The afterimage continued into the next game and the one after that, and the psychological burden increased. Since he is a player with a high degree of attention, his sluggishness was highlighted even more. Moon Dong-joo said, “He said he didn’t care, but I think he was very concerned. He confessed that he was burdened with the result.”
[OSEN=Incheon, Correspondent Lee Dae-seon] Hanwha Moon Dong-ju is regretting that SSG Choi Ji-hoon allowed a timely hit in the left center. 2023.05.13 /email@example.com
People around him gave Moon Dong-ju various stories and advice. In a sluggish period, even a single word could be stressful and burdensome, but Moon Dong-ju did not just ignore it. He said, “A lot of people told me a lot. There was a common opinion. I started to think more about the first ball,” he said. “I talked with senior Choi Jae-hoon before the game about ‘matching within 3 pitches’ and ‘let’s throw after looking at the catcher’s mitt,’ and it worked well.”
On this day, the speed of the fastball was fast, with a maximum of 158 km and an average of 153 km based on Trackman, but I threw it with a little force without squeezing it. In May, he was often seen shaking his head at the catcher’s sign, but on this day, he immediately pitched as soon as he received the ball. Moon Dong-ju, who subtracted his strength and reduced his thoughts, delivered a simple but powerful pitch. From the start of the first inning to one out in the third inning, he threw 15 consecutive strikes against 7 batters, and the rhythm revived. On this day, his match strike rate reached 71.3% (62/87).
In May, Moon Dong-ju, whose changeup speed was too fast and was right at the timing of the fastball, tried to change his changeup grip with the advice of manager Choi Won-ho. On this day, he only threw 3 changeups, but the 5th ball he threw against Kim Dong-heon in the 3rd inning completely slipped out of his hand and headed toward the back net. There is a net, but instinctively avoiding the body, the surprised spectators drew attention.
[OSEN=Reporter Park Joon-hyeong] Moon Dong-ju of Hanhwa. 2023.05.19 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Moon Dong-ju said, “I changed my changeup grip, but today it wasn’t good, and I didn’t throw much. To be honest, I don’t think ‘Moon Dong-ju is a changeup’. I’ve never thrown more than 10 changeups before. I used more other pitches,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I won’t care about the changeup. If you have a changeup, it will definitely make the game a little easier. I will continue to practice”, showing a willingness to develop. Moon Dong-ju expressed that he had “studyed more baseball” over his sluggish performance in May. We are welcoming summer with a grown figure.
On the other hand, coach Choi Won-ho said, “Last time, Dong-ju was bad after taking 10 days off. Dong-ju himself said he wants a normal rotation through the pitching coach. At that time, I will listen to Dongju’s opinion and discuss it with the club to make a decision.”
The Hanwha team plans to limit Moon Dong-ju to 130 innings this year. Coach Choi said, “If Dong-ju is selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games team, (regular season), he should stop at around 110 innings. If he averages around 5 innings, I think he can hit it well enough.” Until the last 5 days, when he digested 35.4% of the season, Moon Dong-ju threw 45 innings in 9 games. Arithmetically, that’s 127 innings pace.