The LG Twins have a new starting pitcher.
Last year’s first-round pick, left-handed prospect Cho Won-tae, has been named the starter for the upcoming game against the Lotte Giants in Busan on May 9.
“We plan to start Cho Won-tae on Sunday,” LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said on Thursday, “with Lee Ji-gang behind him to prepare for a 1+1.”
Cho Won-tae is a left-handed prospect who graduated from Sunlin Internet High School and was drafted by LG as a first-round pick last year. At the time of his selection, LG described Cho as throwing a fast and hard fastball with good pitching mechanics, with a good changeup and a tendency to be aggressive on the mound. He was also said to have a stable delivery and good game management, which makes him an immediate power prospect.
However, the professional barrier was high. He pitched for the first team twice last year. On May 31, he threw two innings of one-hit, one-strikeout ball against Busan Lotte, and on June 9, he threw two innings of one-hit, one-strikeout ball against Gwangju KIA. However, he was not called up to the first team again. It was not easy to get a chance as the team was challenging for the championship, and there were problems with his pitches. 안전놀이터
He continued to pitch in the second team this season, but it was uneven. On June 8 against Doosan, on June 17 against KIA, and on June 24 against Goyang, he went five innings, limiting the runs to two or three, and won three straight games. In his last start against SSG on June 2, he gave up two runs on six hits and two walks in 3⅔ innings.
Yeom decided to start Cho Won-tae because of his fastball. “He’s been performing well lately and his pitches have gotten a little better, so I decided to give him a chance,” Yeom said.
His pitches were up and down, with 0-1 when he was good and 4-5 when he was bad. In his last four games, however, he’s walked just five batters in 18⅔ innings. With no clear-cut fifth starter yet, Cho Won-tae has a chance.
LG has a one-two-three of Casey Kelly-Adam Plutko-Im Chan-kyu, with Lee Jung-yong in the middle of the rotation. The fifth starter spot is up for grabs. Lee Min-ho has thrown recently but has fallen into a slump, and Lee Ji-gang has started two games but failed to impress. In the end, a second-year prospect who had been good in the second team recently was given his first first-team start.
“Lotte has a lot of left-handed hitters, so it’s a good situation for Cho Won-tae,” Yeom said, adding, “It would be nice if he can pitch well until the third inning.”