After building a career that included Rookie of the Year honors in 2022 and double-digit holds and saves last year, Chung Chul-won (Doosan Bears) felt disappointed in himself, and for good reason.
After joining Doosan with the 20th pick in the second round of the 2018 Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) draft, Chung made his debut with the first team in May 2022 and quickly became a staple. As a result, he exceeded expectations in the 2022 season, going 4-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 58 games and 72⅔ innings, 23 holds, and three saves, and was named the KBO Rookie of the Year.
Chung went 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 67 games, 72⅔ innings, 11 holds, and 13 saves last year, pitching over 70 innings for the second straight year. While his ERA and other metrics improved slightly, his performance was still solid, especially after September, when he was given the opportunity to pitch in the closer’s role, collecting eight saves.
Chung met with the media at the Blacktown Baseball Stadium in Sydney, Australia, the site of the first spring training on Sept. 9, and said, “There was a difference between the eighth inning and the ninth inning. It’s not psychological. When I was in the middle, I was thinking about handing over to (Hong) Gun-hee, but when I was in the closer’s role, I think I was more focused when my teammates and older brothers handed over the situation.”
Chung, who had to protect the mound in a close game, said, “I should have been more focused and pitched well, not because I was tired, but because I was out at a crucial moment,” but added, “I don’t think I need to waste tears on past sorrows. I think I need to work hard for this year,” he said.
He would be lying if he said he didn’t think about closing. “Whether it’s Seung-hwan Oh (Samsung Lions) or my older brother Woo-seok Ko (San Diego Padres), I’ve seen how cool closers are, and I have a goal to be a closer for a long time at Doosan,” Chung said.
However, he added, “I don’t dream about it (closing), but I think I work hard to fulfill my role. “I’m not greedy,” he said, “I’ll work hard in any position if the manager gives me the opportunity, whether it’s a high-scoring game or a closer. I said that I wanted to be the closer because I was asked if I had anything to say to the manager at the awards ceremony, and normally I would do my best even if we were down by 10 runs. I try to do my best regardless of my position.”
He didn’t forget to mention the national team. After last year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, Chung was not included in the final roster for the Asian Professional Baseball 카지노 Championship (APBC) 2023. He was more disappointed than anyone else, but he believes the responsibility lies with himself.
“I think I didn’t make it to the Asian Games because I wasn’t good enough, and I think I wasn’t good enough (to make the APBC team). I want to show a better version of myself and represent the country,” he said, adding, “I will do my best to help my teammates (Kwak) Bin, (Chung) Woo-young, and my younger brother (Noh) Sihwan-i to compete together.”
The goal is to win as a team. “There is no improvement compared to 2022 or last year, but I am thinking a lot about image training for the introduction of ABS (Automatic Pitching Judgment System),” Chung said. “I think the record will follow if the team wins a lot and I throw well without getting sick. I’m not going to get caught up in the grades,” he said, emphasizing his sense of responsibility.