In the spring of 2019, the SK (now SSG, hereinafter referred to as SSG unification) front desk, especially the scout team, had to fall into big troubles that did not give an easy answer. There were two candidates for the first nomination that would determine the future of the team, but it was hard to decide who to pick. Scouts almost always resided at Yatap High School, where the candidates for nomination were located.먹튀검증
Aside from the results that will be described later, the background of this concern was paradoxically because the talent of Ahn In-san (22‧NC) was too great. From the first year of high school, he was a top-notch prospect who showed great talent in both pitching and hitting. In his second year of high school, he was proudly selected for the youth team along with his seniors for one year. At the time, he was said to be “already a player on our team” by SSG fans. Until the second year, no one doubted An In-san’s primary nomination.
The impression of An In-san at that time remains in various parts of the SSG scouting team even now, after a considerable amount of time has passed. Officials remember, “He was a wood that could succeed in anything, whether it was a pitcher or a fielder. He also had a very good attitude toward baseball.” In fact, at the time of his first team debut, he inflated the expectations of NC fans by throwing a fastball of more than 150 km per hour. Currently, he is not yet able to shine due to injuries and military service, but there is no disagreement as a player who can expect great success in the future as long as he is not sick.
Seong-yong Kim, head coach of SSG, who was the coach of Yatap High School at the time, also said, “I remember that scouts at the time visited our school every day for two months. An In-san was so good in the second grade. The highest speed reached 152 km per hour.” It was created by preparing too hard and throwing a lot while going up. I had innate strength, good speed, thoughtfulness, and good brains,” he recalls.
However, SSG pondered over the condition of Ahn In-san’s shoulder, and eventually selected Oh Won-seok (22), a left-hander who had grown rapidly since his sophomore year, as the primary nominee. After making the final decision, Cha-hoon Son, then general manager, expressed, “It didn’t take long to choose Oh Won-seok. It took a long time to give up An In-san.” To that extent, Mount Anin was stepped on in the eyes until the end. There was a lot of controversy even among fans. There was also public criticism for not electing An In-san. What I showed during my high school days was that Ahn In-san was strong.
▲ Oh Won-seok is one of the few new pitchers who is showing a continuous upward trend since his debut in 2020 ⓒSSG Landers
However, regardless of An In-san’s future success, SSG is proving that it has the resources to lead the team’s starting lineup with the first nomination at the time. Oh Won-seok is a rare young pitcher in the league who improves every year. Young pitchers often have brief flashes and long slumps that take quite a while to get over. Maybe that’s all the process of upbringing. However, Oh Won-seok is silently overcoming the process and continues to draw a graph of an uptrend. Lefties like this aren’t common.
If you look at the inning digestion trend, you can clearly see this graph. Oh Won-seok, who threw 9⅔ innings in 8 games in 2020, caught the eye of SSG coach Kim Won-hyung, who was appointed in 2021. Manager Kim judged Oh Won-seok to be one of the right people to lead the team mound in the future and gave him a steady chance. Even if he was hit or walked, he bit his lip and watched. As a result, he gradually began to stand out by digesting 110 innings in 33 games in 2021.
Last year, his ups and downs were also reduced, and he threw 144 innings in 31 games while digesting the starting rotation. He had a 4-point earned run average (4.50), but it meant that he had digested his first regulation innings. He hits harder this year. He pitched 40 innings in 7 games for the season, going 3-1 with an earned run average of 3.38. His stability and the quality of his pitches have improved. Coach Kim’s words and eyes were never wrong when he said, “I see Oh Won-seok growing every year” during the camp before the season.
The restraint, which was a weakness at the time of debut, is steadily rising. Now, if you set your mind to it, you can throw the ball at 140km per hour. At the same time, the game management is becoming more sophisticated, and in terms of inning digestion, it has risen to a level that is not envied by the seniors. Out of 7 games, there was only one game where he missed 5 innings, while there were 4 games where he threw 6 or more innings. Unintentionally, he also secured a spot in the SSG selection rotation, where fierce competition arose.
At his current pace, he could be a strong candidate for the Hangzhou Asian Games to be held this year. The Asian Games should be selected based only on skills and achievements, not popularity. If so, Oh Won-seok has nothing to look for. In addition, Oh Won-seok has experience in both starting and bullpen.
▲ At the current pace, he can confidently run for the Asian Games in Hangzhou ⓒYonhap News
It is too early to give a definite answer as there are many contenders, but Oh Won-seok stands out the most among the left-handed selection resources for the Asian Games, along with the ace Gu Chang-mo (26‧NC). Excluding Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom), who is not related to the national team, Oh Won-seok has played the most innings (40 innings) among pitchers in the league under the age of 24 and has the best ERA regardless of defense (FIP‧3.06). I can’t say he beats his competitors, but he’s not far behind.
General manager Kim emphasized, “Oh Won-seok had some weak power and speed in high school, but he was very good in terms of mechanics.” If that growth continues, it is by no means an exaggerated imagination to draw Oh Won-seok standing on the mound in Hangzhou.