The most memorable closer in the KBO since its inception in 1982 is Oh Seung-hwan (41-Samsung Lions).
His 381 saves are the most in the KBO. His four-seam fastball, dubbed the “stone fastball,” had the best velocity and spin. In the past, Kim Yong-soo, Lee Sang-hoon, Koo Dae-sung, and Lim Chang-yong were also great closers. However, in terms of performance and intimidation, Oh Seung-hwan is by far the best.
Seung-hwan Oh, the oldest active pitcher in the game, can’t seem to help himself. He has struggled this season with a 2-3 record, 11 saves, and a 4.65 ERA. However, Oh has been one of the best closers in Japan. He’s also proven himself in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a set-up man and closer. Sun Dong-yeol (1.20 career ERA) and Song Jin-woo (210 career wins) are also the best right-handed and left-handed pitchers in the KBO, with 132 and 103 saves respectively, but they are not specialised closers.
The current crop of KBO closers is disturbing. They get themselves into trouble with unfavourable ball counts.
In the past, closers had great pitches, pitches, and stamina. Kim Yong-soo had a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, and a slider. Lee Sang-hoon had a variety of pitches, including a four-seam, slider, and changeup. Oh Seung-hwan was more of a four-seam and slider two-pitcher, but he had a lot of spin on his pitches and a heavy ball.
Both of these pitchers were able to use their location and command to their advantage by getting first-pitch strikes, and they often pitched into the seventh and eighth innings before the division of labour.
Nowadays, there aren’t many pitchers who can close out an inning, or even a ninth inning, on their own.
In particular, they tend to rely too much on the forkball. The forkball, which is held with the index and middle fingers as far apart as possible, is a difficult pitch to throw freely. It requires a lot of body and outside corner work. Pitching to the middle of the plate can result in being hit. Forked pitches work best when dropped down in the strike zone to induce a false swing, but if the batter isn’t fooled, the ball will stretch.
Some of the best closers in the league have forkballs in the 40-50% range. This reliance on the forked ball leads to an overuse of pitches. Naturally, the number of pitches per inning increases and their innings of responsibility decreases.
The best closer in the KBO right now is LG Twins’ Go Woo-seok. At the year-end awards ceremony last year, Lee Dae-ho (formerly of the Lotte Giants) pointed to him and said, “Manager, Woo-seok has a good cutter (cut fastball), so he’s hard to catch.” Koo doesn’t throw a forkball.
Japanese pitchers also rely heavily on the forkball. However, most of them have good control over their pitches. In Major League Baseball (MLB), closers throw a lot of changeups. If you have difficulty with the changeup, a two-seam can be an alternative. However, very few closers today throw a two-seam to the body.먹튀검증
When a right-handed pitcher throws a two-seam, it curves slightly towards the right-handed batter, which makes it easier to induce a hit. It”s easy to fool hitters who are trying to cope with a fastball from the closer. Forked balls can be used to get the bat out of the zone through restraint or up-and-down movement, but they tend to be overplayed. Playing a two-seam game can complicate things for the batter.
The limitations of a two-pitch game with a four-seam and a forkball are obvious. I’d like to see more bold pitches, more sophisticated pitches, and more reliable closers.