He’s getting better every year. Hanwha pitcher Kim Bum-soo, 28, who has been on a steady upward trajectory despite his less-than-stellar performance, will turn 10 next year. It’s time to hit the ceiling. He is preparing for next season with his life on the line.
The left-hander, who joined Hanwha in 2015 as the first overall pick after graduating from Bukil High School, posted a 9.53 ERA in 2016, his second year. Since then, he has lowered his ERA for seven consecutive years until this year. After 8.71 in 2017, 5.77 in 2018, 5.68 in 2019, 5.24 in 2020, 5.22 in 2021, and 4.36 in 2022, his ERA was close to the three digits this year at 4.19.
Most importantly, he’s played a full season without an injury, major or minor, for the second straight year. Last year, he pitched a league-high 78 games and set a franchise record with 27 saves in a single season, and this year he anchored the bullpen with a 5-5 record, one save, and a 4.19 ERA in 76 games (62⅓ innings), the second-most in the league.
Kim said, “I focused on not getting sick, and not getting sick was the biggest achievement. I overcame fatigue by resting well, sleeping well, and not skipping weights throughout the year,” he said, adding, “I feel like I’m still where I was last year. I’m thinking about how to maximize my performance even more. I also made a plan with coach Park Seung-min on how to do it next year.”
About a month before the end of the season, he had an in-depth conversation with pitching coach Park Seung-min, who is skilled in pitching design, about how to prepare for next year. “I had a good ball, but I couldn’t hit it out of the park,” Kim said. I’m looking for a way to utilize the ball I have in a wide range of ways,” he said. He can’t reveal the details yet, but it’s likely to be through location.
Kim Bum-soo is a pitcher with a lot of stuff. His fastball averages 147.3 kilometers per hour, the fastest of any left-hander in the KBO. He also has a sharp slider that is especially powerful against lefties. His command, which has been a weakness since the beginning of his career, has improved somewhat. He gained experience in the bullpen, where he faced many clutch situations and improved his mental game. With less ups and downs, he could be even better than he is now, and he has all the qualities to be one of the best bullpens in the league.
He’s made steady gains each year, and now it’s time to take a big jump. With two more seasons of first-team roster spots, he will be eligible for his first free agency. “I think next year and the year after are really important,” Kim said. There is free agency, but nowadays there are other things (multi-year contracts). “Next year is the most important year in my baseball career, so I’ll focus on that,” he said, adding, “Next year is my 10th year. I have to put my life on the line,” he said.
If Bum-soo Kim steps up next year, there could be talks of a non-free agent multi-year contract a year ahead of free agency. He’s certainly motivated to do so. “Next year, the season starts a week earlier (March 23). The spring training period will be shorter than in other years, and I have to move quickly to prepare. I’m going to try what I’ve been talking about with my coach since the final camp. If I start next year, it will be too late,” he said.
Kim Bum-soo also said, “I played a lot of games this year, but there were many things I didn’t show properly. If I’m going to pitch 70 games, I need to be able to shut down about 60 games. There are a lot of fans who have a hard time watching me pitch, but I’m getting better and so is the team. Every year I say, ‘Just be patient,’ and next year I’ll be even better.” 아톰카지노 주소