‘WBC boarding’ Kwak Bin, will the best pitcher An Woo-jin rival?

In the 2022 KBO League, the Doosan Bears suffered the humiliation of falling to 9th for the first time in the history of the club. Despite the departure of FA by key players every year, the aura of a strong player who had advanced to the Korean Series for 7 consecutive years until 2021 has completely disappeared. Coach Taehyung Kim, who led the ‘Doosan Dynasty’, failed to renew the contract with the expiration of his term. Doosan newly appointed head coach Lee Seung-yeop and renewed the coaching staff. 

Last year, Doosan was a season that was so unsuccessful that it could not produce a single pitcher with 10 wins, but it also yielded results. One of them was the potential explosion of Kwak Bin, a promising fireballer who graduated from Baemyeong High School in 2018 and joined Doosan as the first choice. 

Kwak Bin was included in the opening roster in 2018 and immediately debuted on the first team stage. He pitched in relief in all 32 games and recorded 3 wins, 1 loss, 1 save and 4 holds, but with an average ERA of 7.55 and an OPS (on-base percentage + avoid slugging percentage) of 0.979, he could not hide his anxiety about detailed indicators. Kwak Bin, who suffered from overwork in high school, was excluded from the first team entry at the end of June, and then underwent elbow surgery and was out for the season.

After a long rehabilitation, Kwak Bin returned in 2021 and transformed into a starting pitcher. He played in his rotation, starting all 21 games. He led by a fastball with an average speed of 146.0 km / h, and he struck out an average of 8.76 per 9 innings. However, the average walks per 9 innings was also very high at 7.21, so he could not hide his anxiety at all. Kwak Bin accepted an average score of 4-7 with an ERA of 4.10 and an OPS of 0.724.  헤라카지노

Last year, Kwak Bin started 27 games and threw 147.2 innings, meeting the regulation innings limit of 144 for the first time. He was 8-9 and was unable to make his first 10 wins. This is because Doosan’s scoring support was 3.72, ranking only 19th out of 22 starting pitchers in the league who filled the regular innings. However, with his ERA of 3.78 and OPS of 0.711, his detailed indicators were the most stable after his pro debut. 

His fastball average velocity was 147.6 km/h, up 1.6 km/h from the previous year. Pitchers generally tend to falter when their fastball velocity increases. However, Kwak Bin reduced his average walks per 9 innings to 3.66, reducing his anxiety about control, which was pointed out as his biggest weakness. WAR, which represents the contribution to victory versus substitute players, had no season exceeding 1.0 until 2021, but last year it was 2.63.

The second half performance was even more impressive. He has emerged as a real ace with 5 wins, 2 losses, an earned run average of 2.98, and an OPS of 0.657. He pitched in 11 games and also proved the aspect of an innings eater to the extent that quality starts (6 innings or more and 3 earned runs or less) reached 8 times. If the pace of the second half of last year continues full-time this year, a rosy prospect was raised that achieving 15 wins is enough.

Kwak Bin has been on the team for the World Baseball Classic (WBC), which will be held in March. It is the first time he has been selected for an adult national team since his professional debut. He was highly regarded as a right-handed fire bowler starting pitcher, which is rare in the KBO League. 

If Kwak Bin continues stable pitching in the first half of the regular season with the WBC, there is a good chance that he will be selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games scheduled for September. Attention is focusing on whether Kwak Bin, who has established himself as a member of the national team, will lead Doosan’s honor recovery by leaping into an ace comparable to the league’s strongest pitcher and his motive for joining the pro, An Woo-jin.