First-year Kiwoom Heroes pitcher Kim Dong-kyu (19) will have a lot on his shoulders.
Kiwoom Heroes announced Kim Dong-kyu as the starting pitcher for the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium on Wednesday.
Kim Dong-gyu was the subject of a trade between Kiwoom and LG on March 29. Infielder Lee Joo-hyung was added to the trade along with a first-round pick in the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft.
Kim Dong-gyu is a first-year prospect. After graduating from Seongnam High School, he joined LG with the 17th overall pick in the second round of the 2023 KBO Draft, but changed teams before the season ended. He appeared in one game for LG this season and 11 games (10 starts) in the Futures League, posting a 3-5 record with a 4.00 ERA in 45 innings pitched.
Kiwoom comes in after Ahn Woo-jin was removed from the first team roster for player protection, leaving a gap in the starting lineup. After considering several options to fill the void, Kiwoom opted for Kim Dong-kyu, a prospect who has been steadily improving his starting pitching.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him (Kim Dong-kyu),” said Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki before the game on Dec. 12. As a starting pitcher, I think we have to judge his potential, performance, pitching ability, and everything else.” “He’s a young player, so there’s a lot of pressure on him, and we can be cruel. But when the fear turns into confidence, the energy is really great and huge. I hope (tomorrow’s start) will give him confidence and help him grow to the next level as a starting pitcher.” 안전놀이터
Kim Dong-gyu joined the first-team squad after playing in the Futures League on Sept. 9 and is preparing to start. “He pitched for the second team on Wednesday (Sept. 9), and we gave him a heads-up and told him to throw a short inning, but he was nervous, which was bad. He must have had his own burden, but that’s something he has to overcome,” Hong said.
The fact that Kim Dong-kyu’s first start after the transfer will be against his hometown team, LG, will be of particular interest to Jamsil. A day earlier (Dec. 12), there was a similar situation with Kim Dong-gyu. Choi Won-tae, 26, was in the spotlight as he pitched for LG against Kiwoom. Choi threw 100 pitches, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts in five innings to lead his team to an 8-4 victory, his eighth win of the season and first against his hometown team.
A moment that could have been a cruel twist of fate. Can Kim Dong-kyu overcome all the pressure and give his starting team a win?