Maximum velocity of 152~153km The unfamiliar faces of the KIA Tigers are predicting a surprise star in the spring camp. Right-handers Lee Tae-gyu (22) and Song Hu-seop (25) are the main characters.
On the 15th, KIA announced the list of spring camps departing for Arizona, USA on the 30th. A total of 55 people, including coach Kim Jong-guk, 19 coaching staff, and 36 players, will participate in the first (USA) and second (Japan) camps.
Among them, there are strangers who have been named to the roster of 18 pitchers. It is Lee Tae-gyu and Song Hu-seop, who have only one game in the first team. Together with the current KIA Futures coach Son Seung-rak, former power reinforcement coordinator, they honed their skills at the coaching academy in Hampyeong until last year and raised their highest speeds to 153km and 152km, respectively, raising expectations for the spring camp competition.
First of all, Lee Tae-gyu, who joined the KIA in the 30th place in the 2nd 3rd round of 2019, has no professional first-team experience yet. His 15 appearances for the Futures are his entire career. However, after completing active duty in the 1st Mountain Brigade for Special Warfare last year, he put effort into eating seven meals a day at the academy and gaining more than 10kg in weight.
In addition, while Lee Tae-gyu refined his pitching mechanism and balance for several months, his speed increased significantly, and in the Futures League last year, he threw a fast ball with a maximum speed of 152-153 km. His restraint, which averaged 140km between elementary and middle school, and only 146km at the top before his enlistment, raised it to an impressive level in just a few months.
After the end of the season, following the Jeju finishing camp in November, he even had practical experience overseas as part of Australia’s ABL Geelong Korea in December. Although his grades were not very good, he threw the ball with confidence and focused on learning the practical senses following the gap in military service.
Lee Tae-gyu, whom we met earlier at the finishing camp, said, “Right now, when playing in the first team, ‘not being a nuisance to the team’ is the first goal. If that happens, leaving a game with an impact is the next goal,” he said. “I want to show once again that ‘my ball goes this far’. Also, I want to feel it myself and know what level the 1st team is,” he said, burning his determination for this season. 메이저놀이터
The KIA coaching staff also paid attention to Lee Tae-gyu’s appearance and made him join the spring camp roster. As an individual, Lee Tae-gyu joined the first team spring camp for the first time in his life.
Right-handed pitcher Song Hoo-seop, who wore a KIA uniform in the 2nd 5th round in 2017, is also considered a promising player. Song Hoo-seop, who is 190cm / 95kg tall and the protagonist of imposing physicality, has only 1 game in his first team experience. On September 9 in the 2022 season, he made a relief mound against SSG and had a harsh professional debut experience with 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 walk and 6 runs in 0.1 innings.
However, Song Hoo-seop raised his competitiveness by raising the restraint, which had stopped at the early 140km range before completing his military service as a social worker, to a maximum of 152km at the academy. He also joined the Jeju finishing camp and took a picture of the coaching staff’s eyes, and joined the spring camp to jump into the competition for a surprise first team entry.
As an individual, Song Hoo-seop was in the past when he could not show his full potential despite having a good physique. However, he took a golden opportunity by joining the spring camp after stepping on the first team stage for the first time last year. If Song Hoo-seop succeeds in joining the 2023 opening season again through the spring camp competition, the bitter experience of last season can also be a medicine.
KIA is drawing more attention to rich left-handed pitchers in the mound power forecast ahead of this season. It is true that left-handers are becoming more prominent in both quality and quantity. However, if the right-handed duo of Lee Tae-gyu and Song Hoo-seop, who throw a fast ball, bring out their capabilities at camp, the KIA will get unexpected young gun fireballers.