As Kiwoom Heroes’ ace Ahn Woo-jin (23) was canceled from the 1st team entry in the 2nd season due to poor physical condition, the emergency light was turned on in the KBO League’s first two consecutive 200 strikeout attempts.
On the 9th, Kiwoom excluded An Woo-jin from the first team. It was a decision made a day after Ahn Woo-jin took the mound against the Gocheok Lotte Giants on the 8th and blocked it with 4 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts and 1 run in 5⅔ innings.
In the meantime, Kiwoom has skipped the rotation one by one to manage the stamina of the starting pitcher. Earlier, on May 31st, An Woo-jin missed the first team entry and returned with time to recharge for 10 days.
However, An Woo-jin’s departure from power this time was unexpected. Originally, An Woo-jin planned to pitch against the LG Twins in Jamsil on the 13th.
Woojin Ahn showed ‘signs of abnormality’, such as making uncomfortable movements during pitching against Lotte. The pitch was also shaken, allowing 4 walks, the most in a single game for the season.
Hong Won-gi Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki decided to skip the rotation once to protect the player, explaining, “Ahn Woo-jin was struggling exceptionally. Seeing him throw a ball he hadn’t seen before, it felt strange.”
Excluding this entry, Ahn Woo-jin can only return to Gocheok Lotte on the 19th at the earliest. However, if he is not in good shape next week, An Woo-jin’s return may be delayed. Kiwoom, whose chances of advancing to the postseason are slim, should now focus on An Woo-jin’s health.
This departure is expected to affect An Woo-jin’s strikeout record.
Ahn Woo-jin, who currently has 157 strikeouts, is ranked first in the strikeout category alone. The gap with second place Eric Peddy (128, NC Dinos) is large, so it is highly likely that he will win the strikeout title for the second consecutive year. If Ahn Woo-jin takes first place in strikeouts for two consecutive years, he can become the third main character after Seon Dong-yeol (1988-1991) and Ryu Hyun-jin (2006-2007/2009-2010).
At the same time, they are also aiming for an unprecedented record. It is 200 strikeouts for two years in a row that even ‘legends’ such as Seon Dong-yeol, Ryu Hyun-jin, and Choi Dong-won could not achieve.
He showed great pace last year and struck out 224, leaving a great footprint, just one short of Ariel Miranda (225), who set the record for the most strikeouts in a single season in the 2021 KBO League.
This year, An Woo-jin averaged 7.48 strikeouts per game and 1.18 strikeouts per inning, showing better pace than last year when he recorded 7.47 strikeouts per game and 1.14 strikeouts per inning, respectively.
If this trend continues, he seems to be able to record 200 strikeouts this season as well. However, this time, as he broke away from his power, a dark cloud came over.메이저놀이터
Kiwoom played a total of 105 games until the 11th against LG. Kiwoom, which uses Gocheok Sky Dome as its home stadium without worrying about cancellation in rain, has played the most games among the 10 clubs and has few remaining games. When Ahn Woo-jin returns, the number of times he will be on the mound can be counted on one hand.
Depending on when and how healthy Ahn Woo-jin returns, it will be possible to guess whether he will achieve 200 strikeouts for two consecutive years.