When you put your heart and soul into the ball, even the best catchers in Korea are not afraid. Park Young-hyun (20-KT), who has been touted as the next Oh Seung-hwan since he was drafted, is living up to the hype in his second year.
On April 4, Park pitched 2.1 innings in relief against Suwon Doosan, striking out three and walking none to earn his ninth save of the season. Tied for fourth in the league in saves. Taking the mound in the seventh inning with a 5-2 lead, he gave up a leadoff single to Kim Jae-ho but struck out the next three batters he faced to complete the job with a clean triple play in the eighth inning against Jung Soo-bin, Ahn Jae-seok, and Yang Ji. Two batters later, he faced Yang Ji with two on and two out, but fired a wild pitch at 2B-2S to induce a foul fly to first base. He threw 28 pitches.
When we met after the game, Park said, “I believe in my pitches. I always try to throw the ball with my soul.” “The most important thing on the mound is to not think about anything. Even senior Yang Ji can’t hit my ball. I try not to look at the batter as much as possible,” he said.
Park Young-hyun, the 2022 KT first round pick out of Yushin High School, is a closing prospect who was highly touted before his debut. His first season impressions were strong. He lived up to his billing as the next Oh Seung-hwan, going 1-0 with a 3.66 ERA in 52 regular-season games and setting the record for the youngest postseason save (19 years, 6 days) in Game 2 of the playoffs.
“I had the biggest postseason save last year, and it was a dream to pitch on such a stage,” Park said. Based on that experience, I think I’m doing well this year.” “When I’m on the mound, I don’t want to give the batter an advantage. I’m trying to create an advantage for myself somehow, so I end up throwing a lot of strikes.”
Another factor in Young-hyun becoming KT’s most reliable man two years after his debut is his role model Oh Seung-hwan. “It’s nice to be labeled as the next Seung-hwan Oh,” said Park, who made headlines last year when he met him in person during a visit to Suwon. I used to watch him, but now I’m playing baseball with him in the pros. It motivates me a lot. I’ve been watching him for a long time, and he’s my idol.”
He also revealed the advice he received from Oh Seung-hwan himself. “When I was having a bad time, I went to him and asked him what to do, and he said, ‘If you’re having a bad day, the batter might be having a bad day too. So throw with confidence,’ and that really helped me a lot,” Park said.
In his second year, Park has set specific goals and even a future direction. “My dream is to be a closer,” he said. I’m still in my second year, so I think it’s an experience phase. My older brothers give me advice not to end today because I have a long way to go.” “I want to reach 155 kilometers in my fastball, and I play baseball to achieve that goal. Right now, I’m up to 151 kilometers, but I’m going to try to throw 155 kilometers in the future.”
He also answered questions about 메이저놀이터 making the national team for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. “Of course I don’t care,” said Park, who is on the preliminary roster. I’ll be grateful if I’m selected because my ball is good,” he said, adding, “It’s not about the Asian Games right now. I’m playing for the team. The Asian Games is an individual goal,” he emphasized.
Park is cruising with a 2.60 ERA in his second year without a jinx. Finally, we asked him about his goals for this season. “The most important thing is not to get injured. I would like to set a record of 25 holds. I told him to aim high,” he said.
However, Park’s boldness on the mound distracted us for a moment. Park is a 20-year-old rookie in his second year of professional baseball. He quickly said, “Did I aim too high? I think the hold is fine, but 155 kilometers is the problem.” He laughed.