Used or Pure…The Rookie of the Year Race Is Shaping Up

A third of the way through the pennant race, the Rookie of the Year race is heating up. Rookie of the Year eligible players have been consistently making their mark on the first team, which means the competition is fierce. In particular, the ego battles between secondary rookies and pure rookies add to the excitement.

After pitcher Lim Tae-hoon (Doosan Bears) won the Rookie of the Year title as a high school rookie in 2007, middle-aged rookies dominated the 먹튀검증 once-in-a-lifetime honor from 2008 to 2016. However, the emergence of big high school rookies such as Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) in 2017 and Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz) in 2018 changed the landscape, and pure rookies took center stage for five consecutive years until Lee Yi-ri (KIA Tigers) in 2021. Last year, Chung Chul-won (Doosan) was the first middle school rookie to win the award in six years.

Secondary rookies Lee Yong-jun, Kim Dong-joo, and Moon Dong-joo stand out

This year, the competition is fierce, with pitchers standing out. Among the players who met the eligibility criteria of “pitchers who pitched 30 or fewer innings within five years, excluding the first year of their career,” Lee Yong-jun (21-NC Dinos), Kim Dong-joo (21-Dusan), and Moon Dong-joo (20-Hanwha Eagles) stood out. Lee and Kim joined the organization in 2021 and Moon last year. All three are starters in the rotation and carry a lot of weight on the team.

Through seven days, Yoo is 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 10 games, while Kim is 2-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 10 games. Going into spring training, they weren’t guaranteed a spot in the rotation, but injuries to established starters have given them a chance to shine. Moon Dong-ju, who is known for his hard-hitting fastball in the low 150 kilometers per hour, is also performing well with a 3-4 record and 3.53 ERA in 10 games.

●Pure rookies Yoon Young-chul and Park Myung-geun are in a two-way battle, and Kim Min-seok is also in the spotlight

If there is not much difference between the performance of secondary and tertiary rookies, it is common for pure rookies to have higher scores. Yoon Young-cheol (19-KIA) and Park Myung-geun (19-LG Twins) are as impressive as the aforementioned secondary rookies. After starting the season with five starts, Yoon is 3-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 10 games, while Park has a 1-5 record with four saves and a 2.45 ERA in 27 games.

Yoon’s fastball sits in the low 140s, but he’s known for his aggressive delivery and unflappable fighting spirit. Park Myung-geun, despite his small stature at 5-foot-11, dominates hitters with his fastball, which comes from a concise and unique delivery. His unwavering mentality in the closing spot is also a strength.

Among the hitters, Kim Min-seok (19, Lotte Giants) is the leader. In 44 games, he’s batting .253 with one home run, 19 RBIs, and eight stolen bases. The fact that he’s the only one of the Rookie of the Year eligible hitters to get regular at-bats is a value that can’t be overlooked.

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