SSG manager Kim Won-hyung praised Ahn Woo-jin (24, Kiwoom), the opponent’s starter and the best pitcher in the KBO League, as he replayed the game against Kiwoom the previous day ahead of the Incheon KIA match on the 1st. On this day, Ahn Woo-jin pitched well with one run in six innings while playing a pitching match with Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG). Although he was blocked by Kim Kwang-hyun, who also did well with two runs in seven innings, he was not ashamed of the title of “the best in the league.”
Head coach Kim said, “When there is no runner, I throw with 80 to 90 percent of the force, and when the situation arises, I throw 156 to 157 kilometers.” That’s why the blisters pop. He threw the ball really well, he said. “He’s a pitcher who can be said to be young if he’s young, but there’s something caught on the mound.” He knew how to throw the ball and threw it well. He said, “I’m an opposing pitcher, but I have to admit what I have to admit.” 스포츠토토
The stories of the enemy commander and other team players praising Ahn Woo-jin have been coming out since last year. Kim’s story is not special. However, it is likely to be the last compliment for the time being. It’s because of the injury. Kiwoom officially announced on the 2nd that Ahn Woo-jin will undergo elbow ligament reconstruction surgery and Tommy John surgery. After taking the mound on the 1st, he was examined for pain, and he was diagnosed with a ruptured ligament. It was a bolt from the blue.
Kiwoom thoroughly managed Ahn Woo-jin’s body. In the first and second half of the year, they also took a 10-day break. Just a month ago, he visited four medical institutions for checkups. All of them were found to be fine, but the elbow ligament may break at once. Ahn Woo-jin, who constantly threw a ball close to 160 kilometers per hour, could not overcome this strength. The rehabilitation period will take one year to one and a half months.
A monster was a monster. As a result, on August 31, when his elbow ligament was ruptured, Ahn Woo-jin still threw a strong ball. According to the tally by “Trackman,” which provides tracking data to nine KBO League clubs, Ahn Woo-jin’s maximum speed of 156.2 kilometers per hour was found. The average was 151.9 kilometers. As head coach Kim said, he usually saved his strength and controlled the pace, but when an important situation came, he changed gears and pitched his best. The power remained the same.
However, there were clear signs of something wrong with the body. Looking at the tracking data, this phenomenon is clearly identified. Ahn Woo-jin’s average four-seam fastball speed reached 155.7km at the beginning of the season against NC on April 7. This average restraint was maintained for some time. However, it began to fall little by little from mid-May. The average speed of the match against Doosan on May 18th was 154.1km, and the speed of the match against kt on May 24th was 153.1km.
Finally, in July, the decrease in speed was so noticeable that the average speed exceeded 153km. This is the time when Kiwoom began to pay attention to Ahn Woo-jin’s fatigue. In the match against Lotte in Gocheok on August 8, when the average four-seam speed fell to 151.5 kilometers, he eventually chose to rest for 10 days again. However, the restraints that fell did not rise. The number of revolutions per minute (RPM) also fell significantly from the beginning of the season. In other words, clear abnormal signs were being found in the data.
I could have been exhausted. Ahn Woo-jin pitched 107 innings in the first division in 2021. It was his first 100 innings. However, he played 196 innings at a time when he became the league’s best pitcher last year. Only in the regular season. He pitched well over 200 innings in the postseason. Ahn Woo-jin was confident that he recovered well during the off-season, and seemed to prove this with his strong ball power at the beginning of the season, but eventually the ball power that has fallen since June was revealed. And the elbow ligament is ruptured and placed on the operating table.
It is only certain that you will undergo surgery for now. It has not yet announced what path it will take in the future. However, Ahn Woo-jin has yet to serve in the military. As it takes a year to a year and a half to rehabilitate, there is a possibility that he will return after entering the public service and completing his military service. If this happens, he can only return as early as the end of 2025, and the normal return is likely to be 2026.
However, the impressions over the past two years remain strong. “This monster can also appear in the KBO League,” he showed. In terms of pitching, it was also the pride of the league. Major League Baseball scouts are also expected to remember Ahn Woo-jin. Since two years ago, many clubs have already watched Ahn Woo-jin’s pitching and growth. Elbow surgery is also a common operation in the United States, so it is not expected to significantly harm scout evaluation. Rather, there may be a club that is more relieved that it has undergone surgery once.