“That name has long been forgotten”… Head coach Jang Jae-young

Hong Won-ki (50),먹튀검증 director of Kiwoom Heroes, delivered an intense message to Jang Jae-young (21). 

Coach Hong Won-ki mentioned Jang Jae-young ahead of the Incheon SSG Landers game on the 23rd. Jang Jae-young, who took the mound against the Samsung Lions on the 18th, gave up 4 hits, 5 walks and 6 runs in 2 and 1/3 innings, and was removed from the first team entry the next day. A starting rotation in which a pitcher who pitched on Tuesday is responsible for the game on Sunday. Kiwoom played left-hander Lee Seung-ho in the SSG match on the 23rd, and naturally, the timing and requirements for Jang Jae-young’s first team call-up came to the fore. 

Director Hong Won-ki has not lost faith in Jang Jae-young. He is a top-notch prospect nominated in the 1st rookie draft in 2021, and the value of his potential is the player whose contract amount (900 million won) is the second largest ever. He threw a fastball in the mid-150 km range and received attention from major league (MLB) clubs. 

However, Jae-young Jang showed control problems after his debut in the KBO League, and over the past two seasons (2021-2022), he has been sluggish, leaving an average ERA of 8 points. In November, he gained experience by playing in the Australian Professional Baseball League (ABL) as a member of Jilkong Korea, and at the 2023 Spring Camp held in February and March, he received special one-on-one guidance from Chan-ho Park, a “Korean Express,” aiming to improve his control. 

Jang Jae-young, who received high expectations and got a place in the 5th starting position, digested his first rotation in the match against the Gocheok LG Twins on the 6th. The results were disastrous. He gave up 5 walks in 4 innings and showed no different from the previous 2 seasons. In the end, he couldn’t overcome his chronic weakness (Jegu Nanjo) and was ordered to go to the 2nd Army again. 

When asked about the timing of Jang Jae-young’s recall to the first team, coach Hong Won-ki said, “The name of that player (Jang Jae-young) has been forgotten for a long time.” It was a joke mixed with seriousness. 

Coach Hong said, “There are many talented players. However, it is difficult to survive on its own. Jang Jae-young has a technical problem with his ninth pitch. Now that he is three years behind, he raised his voice, saying, “I have to take responsibility for that part and improve it.” He then drew a line, saying, “He must reach a certain level to be able to play in the first team.” 

Lee Seung-ho went down the mound on the 23rd after allowing 3 runs in 2 2/3 innings. It is evaluated that he has not yet improved his physical condition enough to digest the number of pitches (90 to 100 pitches) required of a starting pitcher. Jeong Chan-heon, who signed a dramatic contract right before the opening, is currently building his body at Future Steam. Coach Hong said, “As there is no player (Jang Jae-young) in the plan, we will have to start another plan.” 

Jang Jae-young is a fireball player who entered the professional stage late, such as Moon Dong-ju and Kim Seo-hyun (above Hanwha Eagles), showing their value. As director Hong Won-ki said, for Jang Jae-young, who is in his third year, hunting for the first ball can no longer be an excuse. 

Maybe he was dropped as the fifth starter because he pitched well in the bullpen. It is also necessary to figure out whether Jang Jae-young’s retrieval is really a technical problem or a mental problem. More than anyone else, the player himself. 

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