Kiwoom right-hander Jang Jae-young, 22, is on pace for a promotion from the Futures (second-tier) league to the first team.
Jang Jae-young started a home game against Doosan in the 2023 KBO Futures League at Goyang Baseball Stadium on April 24, allowing three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in six innings. It was his second consecutive quality start (six innings and three earned runs), and he was replaced by Park Seung-ju in the seventh inning after his team took a commanding 12-3 lead.
Jang Jae-young, who struggled mightily with his pitches in the first team games, has recently regained his composure. He had a whopping eight walks against Samsung on the 12th, but has gradually reduced them since the NC game on the 18th (one). On this day, he also allowed only two walks.
Jang Jae-young, a native of Deoksugo, was selected by Kiwoom with the first overall pick in the 2021 rookie draft. He was highly anticipated after signing a 900 million won contract, the highest ever for a rookie in the franchise’s history and the second highest in the KBO.
In his third year in the league, Jang Jae-young was expected to be Kiwoom’s fifth starter this season. Although he struggled last season with a 7.71 ERA in 14 games with no wins, holds, or saves, Jang made a splash during the offseason with the Geelong Korea of the Australian Baseball League (ABL).
However, the results have been disastrous. In two games this season, he went 2-2 with a 12.79 ERA. Jang Jae-young was sent to the second team the next day after his start against Samsung in Gocheok on March 18, where he gave up six runs in 2⅓ innings.
At the time, Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki expressed his disappointment with Jang, saying, “The pitching problem that I was worried about came out again.” He said, “He has the ability to restrain the ball, but he still needs time to solve the technical problem of catching the ball.”안전놀이터
Jang Jae-young, who was sent down to the second team, has been working hard to improve his delivery. He has been pitching steadily lately and is hoping to return to the first team.
Jang Jae-young’s strong performance is good news for Hong. “I haven’t seen (Jang’s) second-team performance yet,” Hong told the media before the game against KT at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, “but I’ll take a look at it comprehensively.”
However, he did not seem to have any plans to make any major changes just yet, as the starting lineup has been steady. “The starting lineup is running normally, but we need a backup when we rotate,” Hong said, adding, “We will consider him, but we won’t make any major changes right away.”
It will take a consistent performance to win over Hong’s heart. “You have to have a cumulative record, not just a one-off performance. “There will be difficulties, but it is important to reduce the gap,” he said.