Lotte Giants Choi Jun-yong (22) has appeared in the most games since his debut last year. However, it was actually the season that left the biggest regret for himself. 안전놀이터
Last year, he recorded 3 wins, 4 losses, 14 saves and 6 holds with an earned run average of 4.06 in 68 games and 71 innings. He tried to be a starting pitcher until the demonstration game, but moved into the regular season as a closer due to an injury to closer Kim Won-joong. After that, he returned to the bullpen pitcher, but he could not show the same strong pitch as before.
There are players who set their goals for the season in their hearts and never speak out, and there are players who do not set specific goals. Of course, there are players who enter the season with a clear goal set. Choi Jun-yong is a style that sets a clear goal and moves towards it.
This year, Choi Joon-yong set goals to erase the regrets of last year and gain clear motivation for this year’s leap forward. Choi Jun-yong looked back, saying, “Last year’s goal was to be selected for the Asian Games national team, but the Asian Games were postponed. On the day the postponement was announced, I hit a home run. From that day on, motivation disappeared, so it started to get twisted. Something started to drain me.”
This year, the Asian Games are also our goal. However, it is also a goal to shake off the negative energy of the new uniform number ’18’. He said, “The Asian Games are also my goal. But I want to break the superstition of number 18.” He said, “Lotte said that even good players got injured or sluggish when they wore number 18. There was a perception that it was a bad number. I don’t believe in that. I chose number 18 for strong motivation to break the superstition. Even if the Asian Games are canceled again, I have to do well because number 18 is a new motivation.”
It is a challenge to oneself. But it is abstract. So he set up a numerical goal again. He said, “I didn’t set a numerical goal last year, but I thought I should have a numerical goal again. So I want to record an average ERA of 35 holds and 2 points while throwing steadily in the first team without getting sick.”
35 holds is a record that can rise to the hold king. Last year’s hold king, LG Jeong Woo-young’s record was also 35 holds. However, Kim Sang-soo (36), who was the king of holds in 2019 and recorded the first 40 holds in the KBO, joined Lotte. Kim Sang-soo, who was released from SSG Landers last year, will make a fresh start at Lotte this year.
From Choi Jun-yong’s point of view, who dreams of becoming the Hold King, Kim Sang-soo is the object of envy. Since he was desperate, he poured out a barrage of questions and sought answers. Choi Jun-yong said, “I ask a lot of (Kim) Sang-su how he did the 40 hold, how he took care of his body, and how he felt when he did the 40 hold.” The bullpen pitchers said that it is not because I do well alone, but that the pitchers around me help me well to keep records. I think they are right. Even if I leave 2 runners behind, I have to block them from behind to make a hold, so they say that is important. He explained the process of seeking an answer.
As he regains his stone fastball this year, he tries to be reborn as a trustworthy Pilseungjo again. He said, “(Kim) Wonjoong has a finisher called his older brother, so I want to be a pitcher with a sense of stability so that I can block cleanly in a given inning.” I’m trying to prepare so that I can put more weight on my strengths.”