Last season,메이저놀이터 Park Young-hyeon (20, KT Wiz) was often said to be ‘not like a rookie’.
His expression hardly changed on the mound. Just standing on the mound in the first team stage as a rookie can make your heart thump, but Park Young-hyun’s expression hardly changes even if he strikes out or gives up a point after getting a hit. This perseverance became the basis for Park Young-hyun to be included in the fall baseball entry in his debut season. In the first game of the semi-playoffs of his last season, the first fall of his life, Park Young-hyun caught ‘genius hitter’ Lee Jung-hoo with a grounder in front of the pitcher. The next day, the team went on the mound in the bottom of the 8th inning with a narrow 2-0 lead and finished the game with 2 scoreless innings. With the save that day, Park Young-hyun became the protagonist of the KBO League’s youngest ever postseason save record (19 years and 6 days). The final result of the regular season was 52 games, 51⅔ innings, 1 loss, 2 holds, and an average ERA of 3.66. He settled in the first team stage with not a few innings and an excellent earned run average for a rookie. Park Young-hyun looked back on his debut season, saying, “I had a great experience. You don’t know when or how you’ll get a job as a bullpen. I learned a lot from that part.”
His expressionless appearance on the mound was set against his idol and role model, Oh Seung-hwan (41, Samsung Lions), the “Stone Buddha.” Park Young-hyun said, “There is no expression inside the baseball field, but there is a big change outside. I wanted to resemble senior Oh Seung-hwan inside the baseball field. He said, “Since I was young, my dream has been to be a closer. In elementary school, I did not attach much importance to (position), but since middle school, I have not started. I fell in love with him when I saw him. Maybe (the goal of finishing) started from then.” He said, “I don’t have any desire to start. Rather, the bullpen is more comfortable and I like it.” “I tried starting in high school, but it wasn’t my style. The bullpen had the thrill of organizing and defending the situation in the process of blocking one inning. Dream of a finisher is valid so far. I don’t know when it will be, but I wonder if I can make my dream come true if I accumulate good experiences every year.”
Through KT’s Arizona camp in the US, Park Young-hyun is sharpening his sword to become a harder pitcher. Park Young-hyun, who recently appeared in the evaluation match with the WBC national team, said, “I tried to throw without being too conscious of my pitching form, but the feeling was good. He said, “Team seniors often say, ‘Just because you pitched well one day doesn’t mean there is no next game. As much as that, I think I should set the goal of throwing more than 60 innings.”