It was something I never thought of when I was a catcher in the past. KT Wiz’s guardian Kim Jae-yoon (33) set a career record of 140 saves in 428 games as a pitcher.
Kim Jae-yoon made a relief mound in the second game 메이저사이트of the season against SSG of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Suwon KT Wiz Park on the 19th and protected the team’s 5-2 victory with a scoreless score in ⅓ innings. It was the moment when he posted his third save of the season and the 140th save of his personal career. 140 saves is the 10th record in KBO league history.
With KT leading 5-0 in the ninth inning, Kim Jae-yoon’s break was expected. However, Park Young-hyun, who came to the mound following the 8th inning, allowed 2 RBIs and timely hits to Jeon Eui-san from 2nd, 2nd and 3rd base, who suffered Choi Jeong-ui’s walk and Park Seong-han’s double, and the three-run save requirement was met, and Kim Jae-yoon took the mound and followed up with Cho Hyung-woo. In the first pitch, he caught a floating ball in right field and finished the game.
Kim Jae-yoon, whom we met after the game, said, “I was able to set a record thanks to the fielders who made the score difference big. Also, Seongwoo Jang, who has worked well with me until now, has a lot of credit. He will earn more saves in the future and throw hard to keep the team victorious.”
Kim Jae-yoon, who played as a catcher in the US Minor League, joined KT as the 2nd special 13th pick in the 2015 rookie draft and turned to pitcher at the suggestion of former manager Cho Bum-hyun. And from 2016, the second year of his joining, he was in charge of the closer of the youngest club in earnest and accumulated saves one by one. The fastball, which has more power than the restraint recorded on the electronic board, was the strength that only Kim Jae-yoon had.
Kim Jae-yoon steadfastly achieved double-digit saves for three consecutive years even in the dark days of KT. This led to the first 20 save breakthrough (21 saves) in his debut in 2020, and finally achieved 100 saves in his personal career through 30 saves (32 saves) in 2021. It was the moment when he became the league’s top closer after six years of pitching. Kim Jae-yoon completed 33 saves in the 2022 season, breaking his personal record of most saves and stepping on the 30-save high for the second consecutive year.
The 30-save challenge for three consecutive years is also proceeding smoothly. Kim Jae-yoon is showing perfect appearance with 3 saves, an ERA of 0 (7 ⅔ innings scoreless) and a WHIP of 0.39, appearing in 6 games this season. Coach Kang-Cheol Lee saw Jae-Yoon Kim, who finished the match against SSG in Suwon on the 18th with 1 inning, 3 strikeouts and no runs, and said, “The power of the ball was so good.”
Kim Jae-yoon said, “I pay a lot of attention to fastball. I have to have a good fastball for a breaking ball to work,” he said. “I also talk a lot about fastballs with the younger players on the team. The two Younghyuns (Park Younghyun, Kim Younghyun) are both good at fastball, and Lee Chaeho and Son Donghyun are also pushing with power, so there are so many things to learn.”
Kim Jae-yoon, who has steadily sold a well since turning into a pitcher, will acquire the long-awaited free agent qualification if he finishes this season safely. Kim Jae-yoon said, “People around me always advise me not to overdo it and do what I normally do. Still, when he gets on the mound, he thinks a little more about that (FA). He tries to throw as well as possible without making mistakes,” he said.
Lastly, Kim Jae-yoon said, “It’s fortunate that the part that I worked hard to get in good shape before the season seems to be showing up well.” I will continue the current flow well without injury.”