In the 1980s, Haitai Tigers had Sun Dong-yeol, Lotte Giants Choi Dong-won, and Samsung Lions Kim Si-jin. Even after 40 years, he is still the ‘first ace’ in the history of the team. KT Wiz fans also have such a presence. It is Koh Young-pyo (31) from Sidearms.
On the 6th, against the Doosan Bears in 꽁머니지급 Jamsil, Koh Young-pyo pitched 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts and 1 run. As KT won 3-1, Ko Young-pyo achieved 10 wins (5 losses) in the season. It was a double-digit multiplier for three consecutive years since 2021, and it was the first record achieved after KT was founded.
Even when he was in his 20s, Ko Young-pyo was a symbol of bad luck. For four seasons until 2018, the average ERA was 5.26. During this period, the FIP (defense-related ERA) was significantly low at 4.12 (based on stats). The difference between the two indicators reached 1.82 as a rookie. In 2017, when he became a starting pitcher, the difference between the two records was 1.2 (first among pitchers with 140 or more innings). Even when Koh Young-pyo induced a ground ball, the KT infield team, who were weak, could not catch it.
When Ko Young-pyo returned from public service in 2021, the environment changed 180 degrees. After the appointment of manager Lee Kang-cheol, the defense and pitching ability became solid and transformed into a strong team aiming for a unified championship. Young-pyo Ko recorded an average ERA of 2.92 with 11 wins and 6 losses that year and led his team to his first combined championship. Thanks to his stalwart teammates, he has an earned run average 0.28 lower than his FIP (3.19).
Koh Young-pyo, who won the best pitcher award at the 2021 Professional Baseball Awards Ceremony, said, “When I returned, I worked hard while thinking about what to do if I brought the previous dark energy (to the team).” I finally got a report card that was right for my skills.
After the call-up was lifted, Ko Young-pyo achieved 21 quality starts (QS, 6 or more starting innings and 3 earned runs or less) for 2 consecutive years, becoming a symbol of QS. Here, he achieved 10 wins for 3 consecutive years and established himself as KT’s ‘first ace’. After the game on the 7th, Ko Young-pyo said, “I wasn’t very conscious of the record, and I thought that if you pitch well, victory will follow. It feels good to achieve the record, and I want to say thank you to my teammates.”
Not excited about the first record. The goal is still QS. Koh Young-pyo said, “(Unlike individual victory) I am conscious of the QS record. I always think that is my mission.” Koh Young-pyo achieved QS in the last 10 consecutive games and Quality Start Plus (QS+, 7 or more starting innings and 3 earned runs or less) in 5 consecutive games with good pitching that day. There are 16 QS times in the season, and 14 of them are QS+. He said, “I want to do more than 20 QS this year. I also want to do more than 16 QS+.”
Just as Seon Dong-yeol’s existence led to the ‘pitching kingdom’ Tigers, Ko Young-pyo’s existence also became the foundation of the ‘starting kingdom’ KT. KT, which fell to the bottom in May, rose to 3rd and 4th place without a ride (0.527 win rate) as of the 7th. The basis of KT’s potential lies in the starting lineup that revived this summer. Since June, KT’s starting average ERA has been 1st, and especially in August, it is overwhelming the league with an average ERA of 2.49.
Koh Young-pyo said, “An atmosphere was created among the juniors to pitch aggressively without running away. I wonder if (I) had an influence in that area.” If you can’t throw, you can’t throw. Juniors say, ‘My brother made it that way’. It seems like a good synergistic effect. If pitchers eat (throw) long innings with as few pitches as possible, wouldn’t KT continue to rise?”