The Lotte Giants have never had a bullpen duo like this in their 41-year history. We are currently watching the strongest bullpen duo in the history of the Lotte team. Set-up man Koo Seung-min (33) and closer Kim Won-joong (30) have been together since childhood and are now making history as they move up to the pitching staff.
Lotte won 2-0 in the Sajik NC on April 22. Na Kyun-ahn pitched six scoreless innings of relief, followed by a one-hit shutout in the eighth inning by Koo Seung-min and a scoreless ninth inning save by Kim Won-joong.
Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong made their mark on the Lotte franchise. Koo Seung-min recorded double-digit holds for the first time in the franchise’s history for four consecutive years and tied Kang Young-sik’s franchise record for most holds with 96 in his career. He needs just one more hold to become the most prolific player in franchise history. He has already reached the 20-hold mark for the third consecutive year and will attempt to reach the 20-hold gold medal for the fourth consecutive year.
Kim Won-joong recorded double-digit saves for the fourth consecutive season with 10. It was also a club record. Previously, Son Seung-rak recorded 10 saves for nine consecutive years with Nexen and Lotte, including three years in a row with Lotte. Kim Won-joong is the first to do it four years in a row.
He’s been with the organization for a long time. Kim Won-joong graduated from Gwangju Dongseong High School and was selected by Lotte with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2012 rookie draft, and Koo Seung-min graduated from Hongik University and was selected with the 52nd overall pick in the sixth round of the 2013 rookie draft. They joined the team a year apart. Although there was a hiatus due to military enlistment, they grew up together for more than a decade, starting at the Gimhae Sangdong Stadium. The relationship between the two players is special.
After the game, Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong embraced in the dugout and congratulated each other on their records. “I don’t know how everyone around me knows and talks about it,” said Koo Seung-min after the game. I think we did it one by one. I think it’s the result of working well with the younger players,” he laughed.
He also talked about his relationship with Kim Won-joong, saying, “Won-joong and I cheer each other on. We have similar pitching situations, so we give each other feedback and have a lot of common ground. I think we’re a good teammate,” he said, adding, “I think Won Joong-i was the first to congratulate me. He asked for a hug first, so I was impressed,” he laughed.
The team now has veterans in the bullpen, including Kim Sang-soo, Shin Jeong-rak, and Yoon Myung-jun, but Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong share the role of pitching coach. They also take the lead when it comes to criticizing the younger players and making suggestions to the club. Their status within the team is solid and high, even more so than it appears from the outside.메이저사이트
Na Kyun-an, who was the winning pitcher on the day, said of Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong, “They’re great brothers. They give me a lot of strength on the mound. They are the ones who do better themselves so that the juniors can see and learn from them. They’ve been struggling a lot, but they’re leading the team, so I think the team is doing really well,” he said, paying tribute to the Lotte bullpen GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).
There’s no stopping Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong. Now, Lotte’s best are looking to become the first. The 100-hold and 100-save records for LOTTE players have never been achieved by anyone else. Now, the 10-year soul mates will move forward to make history as the strongest bullpen in LOTTE history.