“There is no comparison between then and now”
Lotte Giants’ Koo Seung-min took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning of the team’s 11th game of the season against the Hanwha Eagles of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on March 31, throwing 11 pitches and striking out one.
It was a no-hitter. Koo Seung-min came on in the bottom of the eighth with Lotte leading 5-2 and started the inning with a six-pitch battle with leadoff hitter Noh Si-hwan, striking him out with a 133-kilometer slider before getting Chae Eun-sung to fly out to center field and getting Lee Jin-young to ground out to third base to end the inning and hand the baton to Kim Won-jung.
Koo Seung-min, who recently reached the 100-hit plateau in his career, accomplished the second “feat” in KBO history on March 31 against Hanwha. Previously, only Ahn Ji-Man (Samsung Lions, 2012-2015) had recorded 20 holds in four consecutive years, making him the second player in KBO history to do so.
Four consecutive years of 20 holds may not seem like much, but it’s a very valuable record. Until Koo Seung-min achieved it, only Ahn was able to do it. Currently, only Jung Woo-young (LG Twins, currently has 11) can challenge for 20 consecutive years, and there’s a good chance he won’t make it. Not only has he not accumulated many holds due to his early season struggles, but he is also facing an inevitable hiatus due to his selection to the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) team.
So far, there is not a single player in the KBO who has reached 20 holds in five consecutive years. Ahn Man-ji, who made the record four years in a row before Koo Seung-min, was retired from active duty in 2016 after posting a 5.79 ERA with 2 wins, 5 losses, 5 holds, and 5 saves. A record that only Koo Seung-min can challenge at this point. He will be eligible for free agency after the 2024 season, so his motivation is clear.
Acting head coach Lee Jong-woon, who gave Koo a chance when he was in charge in 2015, when he had only one first-team appearance in a Lotte jersey, saw his four consecutive 20-hit seasons. “It’s a great record that means a lot to me and to the team,” Lee said before his resignation against Doosan. Having such a record will give me more confidence to play in the future,” he said with a thumbs-up.
Lee Jong-woon said, “I was young then, and now I’ve grown up and become a solid player. At first, no matter how good he was, there were parts that weren’t polished. There’s no comparison between then and now.” “I can’t predict the future, but I think this is because he’s so sincere and self-managed,” he smiled wryly.
Today, Koo Seung-min is arguably the best “setup man” in the KBO, but in 2015, Koo was known as the pitcher who gave up the 400th career home run to Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop, who was known as the “national hitter. “Even if you have the same potential, you can’t improve if you lose confidence,” said Lee Jong-woon. But I think that process has made him more durable,” said Lee.먹튀검증
“When I look back on the past four years, I feel a lot of pride,” said Koo, who recorded 20 holds for the fourth consecutive year on the 31st of last month. “And above all, I was able to make this record because of my team. The manager and coaches helped me, and the beasts were focused, so I was able to continue the record naturally. Rather than thinking about the next record, I want to be a middle reliever who can contribute to the team next year without getting sick,” he said, refraining from commenting on the ‘firsts’ for the fifth consecutive year.
“I still have a chance,” he said. Now that we’ve broken the losing streak, I’ll use this opportunity to focus even more and try to win each game. I would like to thank the fans for their unwavering support. We won’t forget them and will work hard for the rest of the season,” he said, adding that he will do everything he can to make the postseason, even if it’s a long shot. It remains to be seen if Koo Seung-min’s efforts, which are focused on the present rather than the distant future, will pay off.