Now, I can’t imagine the back door of Lotte without Kim Won-joong (31).
Kim Won-joong, who joined Lotte in 2012, was a player who could not be labeled a promising player when he recorded 5 wins, 10 losses and 1 hold with a 5.63 ERA in 2019. However, Kim Won-joong, who turned into a closer since 2020, announced his successful transformation by leaving 5 wins, 4 losses, 25 saves, and an ERA of 3.94 and completely solidified his position as Lotte’s closer by playing 4 wins, 4 losses, 35 saves, and 3.59 ERA in 2021. In 2022, as injuries came, he distributed the role of closer with Choi Joon-yong and recorded a 2-3 loss, 17 saves, and 2 holds with an ERA of 3.98.
Last year was different. Kim Won-joong, who kept the back door for Lotte throughout the season full-time, had five wins, six losses and 30 saves with an ERA of 2.97, and made a remarkable achievement that exceeded 100 saves in his career. He is the first pure Lotte player to achieve 100 saves in his career. Currently, Kim has 107 saves in his career.
Kim Won-joong, now known as a proven closing pitcher in the league, is one of the “pre-FA players” who is already drawing attention. After the end of this season, he will become a FA along with setup man Koo Seung-min.
Kim Won-joong is preparing for this season at the spring camp that is taking place in Guam. In addition, he has been busy as a head of the pitching team.
“There are many new coaches, coaches, and players, so we are proceeding in a new atmosphere,” said Kim Won-joong, “Personally, I don’t have any pain, so it’s going well. I think I’m being thoroughly managed because my team’s training part is working hard,” he said, adding that preparations for this season are continuing smoothly.
Although Kim achieved 30 saves last year and recorded more than 100 saves in his career, his team was more disappointed when he ranked seventh in the regular season. “I feel more responsibility in that regard because our team’s performance was a little poor than our personal record,” Kim said. “I always think that records don’t hurt and accumulate automatically when I go to the mound. I will prepare to take more mound this year.”
With several players including Jin Hae-soo, Lim Joon-seop, and Park Jin-hyung joining the team, Lotte expects to have more bullpen pitchers in both quantity and quality than last year. Regarding this, Kim Won-joong said, “I think the fact that the number of players has increased is a positive factor for the team. As the head of the team’s pitching team, I need to make sure that my new teammates and older teammates can combine well. I think our bullpen will strengthen,” he did not hide his expectations.
First of all, Lotte has to return to the autumn baseball league from the start. Lotte, which ranked third in the regular season in 2017, has not secured a ticket to the fall baseball league for six years since then. With Kim Tae-hyung, manager of the “winning baseball team,” coming this year, attention is focusing on what kind of performance Lotte will make. “My goal is to win the championship within three years,” manager Kim Tae-hyung said. “I think we can always win the championship. It’s because our team is not lacking at all. I’m preparing for the season with the mindset that I can always play the fall baseball.” 꽁머니사이트
Kim Won-joong, who is facing an important season ahead of the FA, said, “Honestly, I have never thought about it. Honestly, it is too early to think about what will happen after the end of the season when I don’t have a goal for the season. The more I take the mound, the more my team wins, so I want to take the mound as many games as possible,” and added that he will focus on the team’s performance.