“With this ball, I just go 6-7 innings. What should I do if I’m not confident?”
These are the words of pitching coach Kwon Myeong-cheol, who led the revival of Doosan Bears veteran left-hander Jang Won-jun (38). Coach Kwon is the benefactor who suggested a breakthrough when Jang Won-joon, who was on the verge of retirement ahead of this season, was about to shrink when he was notified of another second-team move ahead of the opening season. Coach Kwon suggested Jang Won-Jun to equip a two-seam fastball, and Jang Won-Jun, while dubious, honed the new pitch with a feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff.
The result was a great success. Equipped with a two-seam fastball, Jang Won-joon confirmed signs of change by playing in the second team first, and even after being called up to the first team, he continued to produce good results and gained confidence in himself. On May 23 last month, he started for the first time against Samsung Lions in Jamsil and became the winning pitcher with 4 runs in 5 innings. Jang Won-joon, who had stayed at 129 wins for nearly five years since 2018, quickly built up a multiplier to 132 wins in the last two weeks. His three-game performance was 3 wins, 16⅓ innings pitched, and an earned run average of 2.76. It is the most outstanding performance among his five starting contenders.메이저놀이터
Jang Won-joon always expressed his gratitude to coach Kwon, who suggested a change of thinking whenever he built up his multiplier. He said, “Now I have some confidence in the two-seam fastball. I can’t see how the ball bends, but I’m confident at that time because the timing is not right and the hitters are startled. It seems to have become a turning point,” he said.
Coach Kwon said calmly that it was natural advice for Jang Won-joon at the time. He said, “Older players have to change the type of pitch itself. When (Jang) Won-jun came down to the second team, ‘Isn’t it difficult to throw pitches like that with a fastball, slider, and changeup? Would you like to throw a two-seam?’ I said, and Wonjun said, ‘Yes?’ That’s it,” he said, opening his mouth.
Then, “Wonjun said that he practiced two-seam a few years ago, but threw it away because it didn’t work, so I asked him to throw a two-seam as a starter, and he threw it in the game. He told me to keep throwing it. Throwing away most of the four-seam and throwing more than 80% of the two-seam worked well in the 2nd group. Wonjun also decided that he would win with this pitch. As the first group selection collapsed, Wonjuni had a chance, and as a result Even when Wonjun came to the first team, he made good use of his two-seam. He is a pitcher who throws the slider well anyway. Compared to his heyday, the slider’s velocity itself did not drop, so I think Wonjun won more than 130 wins.”
On the 6th, when Jang Won-joon, who was pitching coach for the 2nd team before joining the 1st team, started against the Hanwha Eagles in Jamsil and pitched well, giving up 1 run in 5⅓ innings, Coach Kwon confirmed the presence of homemaker Yang Eui-ji once again.
Coach Kwon said, “Because the catcher is (Yang) Will, I think he caught Won-Jun’s two-seam and led him to make good use of it. It was while watching the Hanwha game on TV when he was facing a left-handed batter. Will made a two-seam sign and stuck a little closer to himself. He sat down. I was leading the two-seamer to throw the trajectory this way, but the young hitters of Hanwha cut and the ball was eaten and struggled.
Now, I hoped that Jang Won-joon would believe in his changed self and throw the ball from the mound. On the 13th, against Changwon NC Dinos, Jang Won-joon held out with 73 pitches in 6 innings and made a good pitch. However, on this day, Jang Won-Jun had doubts about whether he could lead more than 5 innings, and Coach Kwon undoubtedly bruised Jang Won-Jun.
Coach Kwon said, “Before the game, the power analysis team said, NC has a lot of young players, so they will definitely come out aggressively, so I told them to throw it like a flirtation. It is true that he fell. After the 5th inning, I said, ‘Mister, go one more inning’, and I said, ‘Yes?’ So he said, ‘Look at the number of pitches.
Even in the eyes of NC coach Kang In-kwon, the enemy general, Jang Won-joon’s ball was powerful. Director Kang said, “Jang Won-joon’s seasoned beauty stood out. When I saw him from the side, his pitching didn’t look very good, but when I watched the video while replaying the game, I saw that the two-seam and change-up came in with a ball that was too difficult for the border line. It seems to have shown. I think Jang Won-joon threw a good ball rather than the batting was not able to respond. It seems that the two-seam and change-up came into a difficult course, so it seemed to lead to a ground ball.”
When the starting rotation became loose due to the injury gap of foreign pitcher Dylan Pyle, who was now released, and the injuries of domestic ace pitchers such as Kwak Bin and Choi Won-jun, Jang Won-joon played an active role beyond extinguishing the urgent fire. It is unknown how Jang Won-joon’s position will change if new foreign pitcher Brandon Waddell joins, but at the current pace, Jang Won-joon is likely to be the 5th starter. Will Jang Won-joon, who is already writing a career with a twist at the end of his career, continue to write a legend while maintaining the power of his two-seam fastball?