I played well in my comeback match, but I’m not resting on my laurels. He wants to keep working hard.
LG Twins right-handed starting pitcher Choi Won-tae started the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against the Hanwha Eagles at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on April 24. He pitched seven innings, allowing one run on six hits (one home run) with one walk and eight strikeouts. It was his ninth win of the season (6-0) and 13th quality start (6+ innings pitched and 3 earned runs or less). Led the team to a 5-1 win and a second straight victory. LG succeeded in reducing the magic number of regular season wins to 10.
Choi Won-tae, formerly of Kiwoom, donned the LG uniform on July 29 in a trade (Choi Won-tae, infielder Lee Ju-hyung, pitcher Kim Dong-gyu-2024 first-round draft pick). In his first game after the trade, he threw six scoreless innings against Doosan on July 30. However, he struggled with a 1-2 record and a 9.00 ERA in 21 innings over four games in August and a 14.29 ERA in 5⅔ innings over two games in September. He was removed from the first team on Aug. 11. He was given his first opportunity in two weeks against KIA on Sept. 10.
LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said before the game, “Choi Won-tae needs to come alive. I hope he throws well,” he said before the game. Yoon said, “His fastball has been underutilized. He needs to throw more fastballs to save his changeup, which is his main weapon. Only then will it be effective.”
Won-tae Choi passed his first test after his return. He threw 92 pitches on the day. He threw a mix of four-seam fastballs (33), sliders (25), changeups (15), curves (10), and two-seam fastballs (9). His four-seam topped out at 148 mph and his two-seam at 144 mph. He didn’t allow an earned run, except for a solo home run in the fifth inning when he threw a slider to Jin-Young Lee. He lowered his season ERA from 4.47 to 4.31.
“Honestly, I’m still not sure,” Choi said after the game, “it wasn’t the feeling I had when I was playing well, but I’m glad it went well. I think I’ll get better if I keep practicing hard in the future.”
Choi Won-tae said, “In the second team, pitching coaches Kyung Hun-ho and Shin Jae-woong helped me a lot. Thanks to them, I was able to do well. Coach Kyung said, ‘I wish I could throw more pitches,'” he said. “Coach Shin Jae-woong showed me what I look like when I’m doing well and said, ‘Let’s lower our arms a little bit (when pitching) to give our pitches some movement,'” he said, explaining, “I’ve been raising my arms a lot lately, but I’m back to where I was when I was good.”
“My head training coach, Kim Yong-il, was my mental support. What he told me is a trade secret,” he laughed.
He wasn’t too nervous about pitching against Hanwha. “The team was doing well without me, so I was relaxed,” Choi said, “and I thought, ‘I’ll do whatever I want to do on the mound,’ and I think it worked out.”
He also opened up about his pitching. 온라인바카라“The manager told me to throw more changeups, and I thought so, too,” Choi said, “but my changeup kept falling off in the early innings, so I tried to close out the inning with other pitches and get a feel for my changeup when I had time. In the second half, I was able to utilize my four-seam and changeup to get through the seventh inning with fewer pitches.”
“I threw my two-seam in the first inning and then switched to my four-seam in the second. I used it a lot,” he said, adding, “My curve was good. I think I need to utilize it well.” “When I was good, I struck out a lot with my curveball. It’s not my second pitch, so I didn’t use it much, but I think it’s good for striking out. The combination of the curve and changeup seems to be good.”
In the first inning, Choi struck out Lee Jin-young, Chae Eun-sung, and Nick Williams, all with his curveball. His curve was also effective in the third inning when he got Chae Eun-sung to ground out to the catcher for a fielder’s choice. The same was true in the sixth inning when he struck out Park Jung-hyun on a fielder’s choice (first base touchout). I’m finding my own answers.