The King of Steel and the Madame also collapsed. On the 21st, KT Wiz’s key bullpen resources, Joo Kwon (28) and Kim Min-su (30), left due to elbow and shoulder injuries, respectively, and on the 26th, center fielder Bae Jeong-dae (28) suffered a fracture from a hit ball and fell off the horse. A crisis hit KT even before the season started.
The three players are expected to return at least one month. Ju Kwon, who suffered a supraspinatus tendon injury in his right shoulder, and Kim Min-soo, who suffered a right forearm injury, needed a two-month break, and Bae Jeong-dae, who suffered a fracture in the back of his left hand, was diagnosed as having difficulty competing for 5 to 6 weeks. It is impossible for all three players to join the opening roster.
All three players are key players on the team. Kim Min-soo and Joo-kwon are the resources of Pil Seung-jo, who took first and second place in the team last year. Kim Min-soo played an excellent role last year with an ERA of 1.90 in 76 games, 80 and 2/3 innings, with 5 wins, 4 losses and 30 holds, and was responsible for the team’s back. He added strength to the mound by raising an ERA of 3.91 in 58 games, 3 wins, 3 losses, and 15 holds.
‘Steel King’ Bae Jeong-dae is also one of the key players in the outfield. Bae Jeong-dae was responsible for KT’s outfield last year as the main center fielder, recording a batting average of 0.266 (135 hits in 508 at-bats), 56 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. In particular, from the 2020 season, he is a player with a large proportion of the team to the extent that he has continued to record appearances in all games (144 games) for three consecutive years. The record of 437 consecutive appearances since 2019 is in danger of being broken with this injury.
For KT, it seemed that the nightmare of last year was repeating itself. Last year, KT had Kang Baek-ho (24) ankle injury (2 months away) right before the season, foreign pitcher (William Cuevas) and foreign hitter (Henry Ramos) injury replacement at the beginning of the season, and Pil Seung-jo Park Si-young’s season out. I couldn’t hit it in the beginning. The rope injury continued in the middle and the second half of the season and caught KT’s ankle. In the end, KT, who was the defending champion, finished the regular season in 4th place and had a tough postseason.
Due to the nightmare of a rope injury last year, KT was wary of injuries this season, but it did not come true as they wished. KT coach Lee Kang-chul also sighed. Manager Lee smiled bitterly, saying, “Last year, we had difficulties with injured players at the beginning of the season, but this year it has become difficult.” The player base is already thin, but injuries are overlapping, which is a concern.
In addition to Kim Jae-yoon (33), KT’s Pil Seung-jo is expected to be taken by Lee Chae-ho (25), who stood out last year, Park Young-hyeon (20), a second-year pro, and Kim Min (24), who joined the team midway after being discharged from the military. In addition, Kim Young-hyeon (21), Park Se-jin (26), and Son Dong-hyeon (24), who were discovered during the spring camp and demonstration games, are emerging as hopes for the bullpen missing Joo Kwon and Kim Min-soo. Coach Lee Kang-cheol also had hope, saying, “If these players do well, I think we can survive the beginning of the season.”
The midfielders are a bit worried. Foreign hitter Anthony Alford (29) and Kang Baek-ho, who turned from first baseman to outfielder this season, are both corner outfield resources and have not completely cleared the defense. Kim Min-hyeok (28) and rookie Jung Joon-young (19) are also testing, but neither of them has yet been convinced. At the beginning of the regular season, KT’s outfield is expected to repeat experiments and tests. 안전놀이터
Fortunately, KT took lessons from last year’s nightmare and focused on strengthening the off-season player base. It’s not as disheartening as last year. Attention is focusing on whether KT, which faced another crisis, will be able to wisely escape the crisis based on a different player base this year.