The KT Wiz lost their closer after the end of this season. Existing closer Kim Jae-yoon became a free agent and moved to the Samsung Lions. They will look to find a new back door closer from within. Right-hander Park Young-hyun, who has been a dominant closer, is being talked about as a possible candidate.
“I was a little embarrassed because there was a lot of talk about me being the next closer, but I want the new closer to be me, too,” Park said at Kyung Hee University’s International Campus, where KT’s fan festival was held on the 26th. I’ll do my best to prepare.”
I met Kim Jae-yoon a day before the transfer was announced. They spoke on the phone after the official press release came out on the 22nd. “I called my brother to congratulate him, and he said, ‘Oh, KT finishes,’ and I said, ‘You left too early, so let’s take it a little slower,'” Park said.
“I thought a lot about the fact that the final spot on the team was empty, and I felt a lot of pressure. “On the one hand, it’s an opportunity for me,” he said, “because my brother was a really important part of the team. I haven’t decided on a position yet, but if I end up taking on the closing role, I will call my brother often for advice.”
As an undergraduate, Young-hyun was inspired by Samsung’s patron saint, Oh Seung-hwan. Even after graduating from Yushin University and turning pro last year as the first pick, he never lost his respect and affection for Oh Seung-hwan. He has been called the “post-Oh Seung-hwan” for his skill. He has a strong fastball that reaches over 150 kilometers per hour and a powerful delivery. His pitching overwhelmed batters and caught the eyes of many. He was also rumored to be the team’s strong heart and ‘mental king’. If he develops into a closer next season, he could follow in the footsteps of Oh Seung-hwan and Kim Jae-yoon.굿모닝토토
Park said, “I’m so excited. I didn’t think I would be able to reach my dream so early,” he said, adding, “You have to seize opportunities and overcome crises to reach happy moments. I won’t know until next year, but I want to challenge myself.” He added, “The finals are mostly nine innings, so you can prepare more fully. There will be pressure, but I think it will be fine if I can overcome it,” he added.
After Kim Jae-yoon’s departure, a new veteran joined the team. Right-handed side arm pitcher Woo Gyu-min left Samsung for KT through the second round of the draft. Park Young-hyun said, “He’s a senior who has had really good seasons. I think it would be good to follow him around and learn a lot of things.” “I think we can create synergy together next year, and I’m grateful for that,” he smiled.
Looking back on the season, he summarized, “It was a really happy year.” Park finished the regular season with a 3-3 record, 32 holds, four saves, and a 2.75 ERA in 68 games and 75⅓ innings pitched. Born in October 2003, he became the youngest ever holder of the title.
He won a gold medal at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, which concluded on August 8. He made his first senior national team and excelled. In four games and five and a third innings, he allowed three hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts. After making the semifinals last year, the team made the playoffs for the first time this year, reaching the Korean Series. They finished the season as runners-up in the Korean Series.
Park Young-hyun said, “I had a satisfying year, winning the Hold King and more. Considering the gold medal, I can’t think of a better season than this. I will try my best to finish next year,” said Park. “At the Asian Games, I learned how to handle the pressure. I feel like I’ve become more daring,” he said. “I wanted to win the Korean Series, but we lost. I’m going to accept it and prepare for the next season.”
After completing their postseason schedule, they took a well-deserved break. Park said, “I didn’t touch the ball once. I focused on resting well so that I could do well next year.” “I will start training again in the middle of next month. Until then, I will take a break.”
On the 27th, he has an important event. As the KBO League’s “Hold King,” he will attend the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Award Ceremony. Park said, “I think I’ll do it in style. I’m ready. I’ve even decided to get makeup,” he said.