‘Won Sang-hyun-pyo’s curve’ recognized by ‘152-win legend’

Showed off his power against defending champions

Won Sang-hyun (KT Wiz), one of the biggest pitching prospects in the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft, made a strong impression in his first professional start. In particular, Won’s curveball, his main weapon, stood out.

KT, led by manager Lee Kang-cheol, won 3-2 at home against the LG Twins in an exhibition game of the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Tuesday.

Won, who was matched up against 14-year pro Im Chan-kyu, threw 47 pitches, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in three innings of scoreless relief. His fastball (28 pitches) was the most common pitch, followed by his slider (10 pitches) and curveball (9 pitches). His fastball tops out at 150 km/h.

Faced with runners in scoring position in the top of the first and second innings, Won didn’t let up in the count battle. The defending champions’ top hitters, including last year’s Korean Series MVP Oh Ji-hwan, struggled a bit with Won’s changeup.

According to KT, Won’s curveball reached 3,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) during camp. Won showed off his changeup early on. Manager Lee Kang-cheol, a ‘legend’ who won 152 games in his career with a stable fastball, said, “Won Sang-hyun has a good changeup and can throw up to 150km/h. He is showing stability. He is showing a stable appearance.”

Won, who threw his curveball with the ABS (Automatic Pitching Judgment System) in mind, said, “I threw the curveball a little higher on purpose. I threw it low and it was called a ball, but when I saw Lim Chan-kyu throw the curveball, I saw that it went a little higher and became a strike. I knew he had a good curveball, so I watched him closely,” he explained.

Selected by KT with the seventh pick in the first round of the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft after graduating from Kaesong Middle and Busan High School, Won Sang-hyun was immediately recognized for his power. “Won is a right-handed pitcher with a top speed of 150 kilometers and a reliable changeup with excellent athleticism, and he also has excellent game management skills, including aggressive pitches on the mound,” KT said.

The potential was already there. Add to that the training and advice he’s received since turning pro, and Won is expected to be a force to be reckoned with 토토 even before the start of the season. If he survives the five-man roster competition, he could join the likes of Hwang Jun-seo (Hanwha Eagles) and Kim Taek-yeon (Doosan Bears) in the Rookie of the Year race.

“Of course, I’m conscious of my peers. I watch a lot of videos of Jun-seo (Hwang) and Taek-yeon (Kim) throwing. We keep in touch with each other often. I hope all three of them will be in the roster for the opening game,” he said, adding, “Sometimes my fastball doesn’t work well, but I can always throw my changeup well. I’m really confident with my curveball,” he continued.

Won isn’t satisfied with his first pitch, and his growth is ongoing. “I’ve perfected the splitter to 7-80 percent, and if I’m pitching in the regular season, I’ll try throwing it once,” he said. “Recently, Lee Kang-cheol taught me a new grip for the slider, and I used it a few times today (Oct. 10). I had good results with it.”


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