Moon Dong-ju (20), making his debut in his hometown of Gwangju, is on the mound for Hanwha’s first winning streak of the season.
On the 12th, Hanwha announced right-hander Moon Dong-ju as the starting pitcher for the KIA game in Gwangju. This is the first time Mun Dong-ju, who was born in Gwangju and graduated from Hwajeong Elementary School, Mudeung Middle School, and Jinheung High School, is on the mound at the Gwangju-Kia Champions Field. Moon Dong-ju, who has never faced KIA in the first team, draws attention in many ways. For KIA, foreign pitcher Sean Anderson will start.
Moon Dong-ju, who drew attention by throwing a fastball of up to 156 km in the third year of Jinheung High School, was a candidate for the first nomination in 2022 for the related team KIA. Moon Dong-ju also aimed for the first nomination for his hometown team바카라, but the KIA chose Dongseong High School infielder Kim Do-young. It was a decision based on the circumstances of the team, which needed a fielder rather than a pitcher as a resource for a large shortstop that might come out once in 10 years.
Hanwha called for joy and selected fireballer Moon Dong-ju, who came out in the first round of nominations nationwide. Moon Dong-ju also declared, “I will be a permanent member of Hanwha,” without regret for KIA. Last year, the first year of his joining, he showed potential as a first-team selection from September after undergoing a training process in the Futures League, and this year, he was dropped as a 5th starter and stopped the season start.
On the 6th, his first appearance, against Daegu Samsung, he became the winning pitcher with 5 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts and no runs. It was even more meaningful as it was the first win of the season that broke Hanwha’s opening three-game losing streak. On this day, he threw 5 innings with 70 pitches and evenly used curves (26), sliders (10) and changeups (3) in addition to the highest 159 km fastball (31).
Despite the chilly weather, the highest speed was measured at 159 km based on Trackman. His personal highest restraint since his debut last year. Moon Dong-joo said, “Even in the 5th episode, 153-154 km came out. Seeing that his speed, which was the best until last year, came out even after 5 innings, he felt that he had improved a lot (by himself). He didn’t run out of power,” he said.
Even if the blade loosens up a little, it makes me expect to throw 160km. Moon Dong-joo recalled, “I was nervous when I climbed the mound, so I couldn’t feel the cold well, but it was really cold because it was shaded (at Samsung Electronics).” Speed is not something I want to do. Being greedy for 160km speed doesn’t change much. It is important to throw 1 pitch and 1 pitch meaningfully,” he emphasized. Moon Dong-joo’s strength is that he knows how to command anything from a fastball to a breaking ball, which sets him apart from ordinary fireballers.
Moon Dong-ju, who made his debut in the first team last year on May 10 last year against LG in Jamsil, saved 8 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout and 4 runs in ⅔ innings. He said, “If he pitched without thinking in his first game last year, now he thinks and pitches aggressively. Aggression is the same, but the resolution is different. Knowing why you have to throw like this and throwing it is much more helpful.”
Moon Dong-ju’s hometown debut exhibition, which has grown beyond recognition in a year. The previous day (11th), Hanwha won KIA 5-4 after 10 overtime matches, relieving Moon Dong-ju’s burden. However, since finisher Kim Bum-soo threw two innings and the bullpen was consumed, starter Moon Dong-ju should throw as long as possible. In his first appearance, Moon Dong-ju threw only 70 pitches, but in his second appearance, Inal, he increased the number of pitches to over 90 pitches. This is Hanwha’s first consecutive win of the season, a game at stake in the winning series.