Hanwha’s Kim Seo-hyun on his quest to become a starting pitcher: “Keep finishing in mind, focus on starting practice”

The away dugout at the Goyang National Baseball Training Center on May 5. A familiar face was cooling off in front of a mobile air conditioner. It’s Kim Seo-hyun (19), an exceptional rookie for the Korean baseball organization Hanwha.

Selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 KBO Draft, Kim is a key pitching resource for Hanwha, along with Moon Dong-ju, a year his senior. With a 150+ mph fastball from his Seoul High days, Kim’s strong command of his pitches in the pros has made him a key part of the team’s bullpen early in his rookie season. In particular, he wowed fans with a fastball that reached a maximum speed of 160.7 km/h (Trackman) on May 11 at Samsung Electronics.

After acclimatizing to the first-team mound by appearing in five games in the opening month, Kim Seo-hyun stayed in good form for a while. In May, she appeared in nine games, posting a 3.00 ERA and earning her first professional save. However, his stuff faltered in the second half of May and didn’t pick up in June, and he was dropped from the first team roster for the last time on March 7 against Doosan.

When we caught up with Kim Seo-hyun on that day, he still had some regrets about his pitching. He took the mound as the team’s second pitcher in the bottom of the seventh inning with Hanwha leading 3-1 against Doosan and was replaced by Kim Bum-soo after giving up a single to Park Kye-beom and a walk to Lee Yoo-chan.

Kim’s struggles with his pitches eventually led to four runs, and Hanwha lost the game 3-6. “I still feel bad about accumulating runners even after coming to the second team,” he said.

To avoid repeating the same mistakes, Kim has been working on refining his delivery in the second team. “I try to throw mainly fastballs, and after two strikes, 메이저놀이터 I try to compete with fastballs such as sliders and changeups,” he explained.

He also tried to find the best arm angle for his pitches. “He’s a pitcher who thinks a lot,” said Hanwha Futures manager Kim Sung-gap. When she throws the ball with her arm raised and then lowered, it means that she is interested in baseball,” said Kim. “We try to make her throw the way she thinks and then communicate with her when she has problems.”

Kim Seo-hyun, who vowed to become the best closer at the beginning of the season, is currently undergoing ‘selection lessons’ with the second team. He made his first start against Lotte in the Futures League on March 15, giving up two runs (one earned) in two innings, and is still working his way into the starting role. Kim Seo-hyun made his first start against Goyang (Kiwoom) on June 6, allowing one run on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

Kim didn’t seem impatient to return to the first team. However, he was nostalgic for the fans’ cheers, which he cited as one of the reasons why his velocity wasn’t as high as it was in the first team.

“I’m creating my own routine one by one, starting with warming up,” Kim said, adding, “I’m going to put the closing position in the back of my mind and focus on starting practice so that I can make it to the first team and help the team.”

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