“Just like Yang Ji”… Autumn baseball dominated by ‘post-Yang Ji’ brains
“It’s like he’s reading my thoughts like he did with Yang Ji. (Kim) must be good at rock-paper-scissors.”
Dubbed the “post-Yang Ji,” NC Dinos’ Hyung-jun Kim, 24, is dominating fall baseball with his cerebral skills. He won a gold medal as the starting catcher for the Hangzhou Asian Games team and has been gaining experience in the postseason as he wears the starting catcher’s mask for every game.
In his postseason at-bats this year, 카지노 Hyung-jun has hit three grand slams. But Kim’s best work is behind home plate. Catcher coach NC Kang Shin-ho says of Kim’s approach, “You can see that he operates according to the batter’s situation and the pitcher’s situation rather than the overall game. Most of the forces are looking at the overall situation of the hitters from the first inning to the ninth inning, but Kim Hyung-joon is showing that he is operating the game according to the situation of the hitters and the pitcher’s condition on the day, and he is operating the game.”
In the first round of the playoffs against KT on March 30, NC won 9-5 behind a six-inning, 12-strikeout, one-run complete game from ace Eric Peddie and the harmony of the bats. Peddie’s delivery was complemented by Kim Hyung-jun’s pitch mix. Kim utilized Peddie’s two-seam and sweeper pitches. When the umpire set a good course outside the right-hander, the two-seam and sweeper formed an outside lineup.
“I gained a lot of know-how,” Kang said. He hasn’t played a lot of games, but after experiencing big games, he has really improved in terms of how he handles batters and how he responds to situations,” he said.
KT manager Lee Kang-cheol, who emphasizes the importance of communication with the catcher and ball mixing, is also concerned about Kim’s ball mix. In addition to battling with the opposition, KT is also battling with Kim’s head.
Lee felt that the 20-win, 200-strikeout pitcher would not go down without a fight. In the regular season, KT was the team that had a better handle on Pedi. However, in the regular season, Pedi’s starting catcher against KT was Park Se-hyuk in all three games. It was the first time he’d seen the ball from Kim Hyung-joon.
Lee said, “The players thought about the change in catcher, but yesterday, I think I used more sweepers than fastballs, especially to Alford. When a foreigner is stubborn, he throws his own pitches,” he said, adding, “We played ‘weak and strong’. We didn’t do our research.” ⅓
Kim Hyung-jun’s pitching mix proved to be effective in the second game of the playoffs. He had fantastic chemistry with fellow starter Shin Min-hyuk. He pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings in the semifinals, and then 6⅓ scoreless innings with just one hit in the championship game. Behind Shin’s strong pitching, NC won the game 3-2. With the win, NC tied the postseason record for most consecutive wins with nine.
After the game, Kim Hyung-jun said, “(Shin) Min-hyuk’s strength is his changeup. I was worried about how to utilize the changeup well,” he said. “I threw a lot of cutters today, and they worked well in favorable counts. After learning the cutter from Pedi, it worked well. I utilized my cutter a lot today,” he explained.
“In unfavorable counts, I was able to trust Min-hyuk and give him a changeup sign. He’s a pitcher who can throw all his pitches for strikes, so I felt comfortable signing him and he threw strikes well,” he said, praising Shin’s pitching.
Shin also mentioned his trust with Kim Hyung-jun. He drew comparisons to Yang Yang-ji, the best catcher in Korea, with whom he once played. “Hyung-joon gave me a good lead and guided me well, and I had good results because I trusted him,” he said, adding, “He seems to read my thoughts like he does with (Yang) Ji-won. I feel like he reads my thoughts, just like he does with (Yang) Willi. It’s said that ball mixing is a rock-paper-scissors fight, and I think he’s good at rock-paper-scissors,” he emphasized.
Kim Hyung-jun learned a lot from Yang Ji in 2019 and 2020, but after his retirement from the business world, Yang Ji returned to his home team Doosan. Like Yang, his ability to read pitchers’ minds and opposing hitters’ minds has been on full display in fall baseball.
Manager Kang Myung-hwa praised Shin Min-hyuk’s pitching while also praising Kim Hyung-jun. “I didn’t expect him to pitch so well. He’s definitely a big game player,” he said, adding, “Shin Min-hyuk pitched well, but the way Kim Hyung-joon ran the game and led the pitchers allowed Shin Min-hyuk to shine.” He also praised Kim Hyung-joon’s contributions.
Kim’s brain dominates fall baseball. And this fall, he’s proving why he’s been dubbed the “poster boy” for the game.