The Young Guns in the KBO

The KBO used to be known as a hitter”s league. Since they have changed balls it has now transformed into less of a hitter’s league. This has allowed some young pitchers to come up and start making an impact in the KBO. In order to qualify for this list the pitcher has to be under 25, pitched at least 10 innings or used consistently as a reliever and have an ERA below 4.00. We may have some exceptions. Below is a list of those young pitchers.

NC Dinos (14-3)

The hottest team in the KBO have a trio of young pitchers who qualify for this list.

Koo Chang-Mo (2-0, 0.41) - At 23 he could be the best pitcher in the KBO. Last year was his breakout season when he went 10-7, 3.20. Despite lacking overpowering stuff, the lefthander strikeouts more than a batter per inning, something only foreign pitchers usually do. In his three starts covering 22 innings he has only given up one run.

Kim Young-Gyu (0-1, 3.94) - The young 20 year old lefthander made his debut last year (5-4, 5.29). He has only walked one hitter in his 16 innings of pitching, but his ERA is high because of the 6 homeruns he has given up. Last year, with his ERA at 5.29 he only gave up seven homeruns.

Bae Jae-Hwan (1-0, 2.25) - The 25 year old righthander has appeared in eight games. Usually, when Korea turns to the bullpen the runs start appearing on the scoreboard. Not so with Bae. The one down side is he has walked seven in his eight innings of work.

LG Twins (11-6)

The second place team also has a trio of young pitchers contributing to their early season success.

Lee Min-Ho (1-0, 0.00) - This is the first year for the 18 year old righthander, not to be confused with the Dinos 26 year old righthander of the same name. Lee pitched a couple early games of relief, not giving up a run, then got sent down. When recalled he got a start and pitched 5.1 innings of shutout one hit ball. In 9.1 innings he has yet to give up a run, though his 4/2 walk to whiff ratio is nothing to get excited about.

Lee Sang-Gyu (1-0, 1.93) - The 23 year old righthander only pitched to three hitters last year. This year in 8 appearances he has given up two runs. He has a win, hold and a save in those 8 appearances.

Jung Woo-Young (1-0, 1.17) - At 6′4″ the 24 year old righthander has a nice height for a Korean pitcher(most Korean pitchers stand 6′1″ to 6′2″). Last year was his rookie season when he pitched 56 games of relief. This year he has appeared in five games of relief, given up just three hits in 5.2 innings and already picked up a win, a save and two holds. He has struck out a batter in each of his appearances (six whiffs total).

Doosan Bears (10-7)

The Doosan Bears have no pitcher meeting our category.

Kiwoom Heroes (10-8)

Choi Won-Tae (0-2, 3.86) - The 23 year old righthander has given up three unearned runs, but in his last outing he limited the Lotte Giants to one run in six innings. He has been a work horse for the Heroes, making four starts and pitching 21 innings. He has yet to give up a homerun during that time.

Kia Tigers (10-8)

Matt Williams is not a manager that is comfortable with rookies, but the Tigers have one young pitcher he has confidence in.

Jean Sang-Hyun (1-0, 0.00) - The 24 year old has pitched in seven games of relief and has yet to give up a run. He has picked up two holds and given up just four hits in his 8 innings of work.

Lotte Giants (9-8)

This 19 year old was struggling until his last outing.

Seo Jun-Won (2-1, 4.98) - He has now made two good starts and two non-quality starts. His last start he did not give up a run in 6.2 innings, limiting the Kiwoom Heroes to just three hits. There will be some ups and downs as the youngster tries to stitch his way through the KBO.

KT Wiz (7-10)

Bae-Je-Seong (1-0, 0.89) - This is the fourth year for the 23 year old righthander. His last two starts he did not give up a run, pitching seven innings in each start.

Hanwha Eagles (7-11)

They have a duo of youngsters to help their rotation.

Kim Min-Woo (0-1, 2.25) - The 23 year old righthander is now in his sixth KBO season. He has only given up 13 hits in his 24 innings, striking out 25. This is his first year he has struck out more than one hitter per inning pitched. He has also never had an ERA less than 5.14. This could be a break out season for Kim.

Kim Ee-Whan (1-0, 3.14) - This is his second season in the KBO. The numbers are not great but at 19 years of age the righthander needs some time to adjust.

Samsung Lions (6-12)

The Lions have a trio of youngsters on the pitching staff.

Won Tae-In (1-1, 4.50) - This is the second season in the starting rotation for the 20 year old righthander. He had one bad start in his three starts where he gave up five runs in five innings. The numbers are weak, but he has time.

Choi Chae-Heung (3-0, 2.65) - The 25 year old lefthander has won all three of his starts in his third season. In two starts he gave up a total of just one run in 11 innings. He has only given up 11 hits in 17 innings.

Choi Ji-Gwang (0-0, 0.00) - At 5′8″ the 22 year old righthander would not be attractive to major league scouts. This is his fourth season. Last year he appeared in 63 games. A 5/7 walk to whiff ration in just seven innings is a cause of concern.

SK Wyverns (3-14)

They have no one, which is a cause for concern for a team at the bottom of the standings. They have pitchers at 25 and under, but all have ugly numbers.

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