“I went to Chase Field and looked at the lineup for the opening match, and it was almost Randy Johnson.”
Kiwoom players visited Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, on the Scottsdale Spring Camp break day in February. It was Johnson who caught the eye of Ace An Woo-jin. Major League legend pitcher Johnson was a super ace, a symbol of Arizona. 303 wins, 166 losses, 3.29 ERA in 618 games. He boasts of winning the Cy Young Award 5 times.
Will Ahn Woo-jin be remembered as Kiwoom’s legendary ace,스포츠토토 like Arizona’s Johnson? There are plenty of possibilities. From around May 2021, he opened his eyes to pitching in earnest and showed untouchable-class moves. And he made a big success with an average ERA of 2.11 with 15 wins and 8 losses in 30 games in the 2022 season. He struck out 224 strikeouts in 196 innings and swept first place in each individual category. The Golden Glove was also his share.
Such Ahn Woo-jin drew attention last year by shooting 160 km on the Daegu Samsung Lions Park electronic board. According to Trackman data, it was 159.3 km. Anyway, whenever Ahn Woo-jin pitches, his fastball speed draws a lot of attention. He takes lightly in the early to mid 150km in the demonstration race this year as well. On the 26th, Gocheok LG Electronics also reached a maximum of 157 km.
However, there is a more surprising change than Ahn Woo-jin simply taking 160 km. After starting on the 26th, Ahn Woo-jin said, “The things I usually pay attention to the most are my arms falling back and my body leaning after pitching.” This is the most important thing for maintaining pitching balance.
If the arms fall too far back when starting the pitch, the arm swing may widen to the side and the pitch may shake. Also, during that time, there were times when the face tilted to the side and the body seemed to fall in the direction of first base after pitching. In fact, most pitchers suffer from this difficulty. Still, Ahn Woo-jin tends to work hard to maintain good command with a healthy body beyond speed.
I threw it with care, and one positive change appeared. The vertical movement has been raised by about 10 cm. The higher the vertical movement, the lower the probability of being hit by a batter’s bat. The bat inevitably draws an imaginary line sideways. If the ball moves up and down for a long time, it means that the probability of not hitting increases. Naturally, the power of the changing ball is also maximized.
An Woo-jin said, “In Masan (match on the 20th), I tried to catch the target well and throw it, but I was embarrassed. I threw it looking low, but the ball kept going a little high. As it turns out, the vertical movement has risen by about 10cm. I thought it would be nice to see it 1 to 2 cm lower than the target I wanted.”
Ahn Woo-jin explained the principle that the release point goes up as much as the arm does not come out from behind, but attaches it to the side and swings. I didn’t make a separate effort, but the vertical movement came up. He said, “It seems that the fastball has also improved and the breaking ball has improved.”
He said, “I think you can use a high fastball.” This means that if you do not set the target low and pitch as it should, it will become a high-fastball and put pressure on the hitter. An Woo-jin has already grown into a pitcher who knows how to attack the corner of the strike zone. If you use the high fastball properly, your pitch can double.
This leads to the conclusion that An Woo-jin’s ball speed is not simply important. As long as he takes good care of his body, he is looking forward to another great season this year. Ahn Woo-jin said, “I feel like throwing more and more comfortably. If you compare his pitching videos, he throws a stronger ball with less power than last year. He seems to be getting better.”
An Woo-jin recorded 2 wins and an average ERA of 0.75 in 3 demonstration games. Perhaps the legend of the KBO version of Randy Johnson could begin with the opening game against Hanwha on the 1st of next month. Although An Woo-jin and Johnson have different styles, it is certain that An Woo-jin has the qualifications to become a legendary pitcher like Johnson.