“Smooth like Ryu Hyun-jin” Moon Dong-joo 159km is not everything…Ace coronation is just a matter of time, Han Hwa laughs
“He’s smooth like Ryu Hyun-jin and has good form.”
In Game 6 of the Gwangju-KIA-Hanwha series, all eyes were on the Moon-Kim duel. Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha) held Kim Do-young to two hits and one walk. Although he didn’t get the win as his team tied with KIA, he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. He lowered his ERA to 3.39.
There was also a moment when Moon showed his competitive side against Kim Do-young. In the last at-bat of the sixth inning, he threw a fastball on a full count that went well over the height of catcher Choi Jae-hoon. The ball seemed to slip out of his hand, and the pitching form itself seemed to be a bit overpowered.
Moon fired a 157-kilometer fastball to Kim Do-young. His fastball in this game topped out at 159 mph. His off-speed pitches are the curveball, which is synonymous with fastballs. He also uses a slider. His other pitches are less complete.
However, Choi Won-ho has already said that Moon has shown signs of improving as a starting pitcher as he has appeared in 19 games this year (6-7 with a 3.39 ERA). “It’s about throwing and relaxing. It’s much better than at the beginning of the season.”
Moon chose a curveball for his first pitch against Kim Do-young in the first inning. Usually, it’s not easy for a hitter to time a curveball from the first pitch. Of course, it was Choi Jae-hoon’s pitch, but Moon Dong-joo was ready. The curveball is pretty good. According to baseball stats site Statiz, he has a .213 batting average against curveballs this season. That’s lower than his fastball BABIP (0.240).
His fastball is his best weapon, but he doesn’t just want fastballs. He’s also not a big fan of velocity. If he throws a full inning, he’ll hit 160 kilometers, but what matters is his development as a starter and his contribution to Hanwha.
Hanwha has accumulated some good pitching prospects, including Kim Seo-hyun, who will make his debut on Tuesday against Suwon KT. In the second team, Nam Ji-min and Kim Ki-joong are waiting in the wings as the No. 2 and No. 3 call-ups to the first team. Left-hander Hwang Jun-seo, the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2024 Korean Baseball Organization draft in September, is a lock. Hwang is the fastball version of Yoon Young-chul (KIA).
Among them, there is no doubt that the next ace and pillar is Moon Dong-ju. While there is the variable of Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays) returning in the future, 안전놀이터 there is no doubt that Moon is on his way to an ‘ace coronation’. He’s already better than Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom) in his first or second year. His game management and changeup quality can only improve with experience. Choi said, “When he gets older, he will be able to understand the psychology of the batter and throw.”
Most importantly, he said that Moon is serious about baseball and takes responsibility for his growth as a starting pitcher. He doesn’t need or want to focus on just 159 mph. The team decided to limit his innings to around 120 this year to protect his body, so that he can be a pillar of the team for a long time.
“At first, I thought Dong-ju might take a few years, but when he hit 152-153, it was obvious (