‘The Power of the Veteran’ Lim Chang-min, his first save in his family’s team

Kiwoom escaped the losing streak by beating KIA on the last day of the three-game series in Gwangju.

Kiwoom Heroes, led by coach Hong Won-ki, scored 8 hits and won 1-0 in an away game against the KIA Tigers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at KIA Champions Field in Gwangju on the 21st. Kiwoom, who fell to 8th place with 1 win and 4 losses from Tuesday to Saturday, avoided sweeping the weekend 3 consecutive games and kept the ride against the 7th place Samsung Lions, who won an overtime victory over the NC Dinos that day, to 1 game (18 wins 24) group).

In Kiwoom, catcher Lee Ji-young hit three hits, including a timely hit in the 7th inning, and Lim Ji-yeol also made a multi-hit game. On the mound, starter Choi Won-tae won his 3rd win of the season with 6 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, and no runs, while a veteran right-hander who took the mound as the fourth pitcher in the 9th recorded his first save of the season. Lim Chang-min, who made a comeback with Heroes after 10 years this year and recorded his first save in his home team, is the main character. Kiwoom Heroes, who showed the power of ‘group finishing’, kept the back door with Kim Se-hyun and Kim Sang-soo (Lotte Giants) after Son Seung-rak (KIA 2nd team coach), who was an immovable finisher in the 2010s, left the team


Then, in 2019, Kiwoom found stability in the finisher again as Jo Sang-woo (social service worker), who is considered the bullpen pitcher who throws the heaviest fastball in the league, came to the finisher. Cho Sang-woo, who recorded 20 saves in 2019 and took the finishing position, followed up with 33 saves in 2020 and 15 saves in 2021. 

However, ahead of last year’s season, the Heroes’ bullpen took an emergency. Cho Sang-woo, who was Kiwoom’s representative finisher following Son Seung-rak, enlisted in the military at the end of the 2021 season after failing to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It was natural for many baseball fans to predict that Kiwoom’s performance in the 2022 season would drop due to the loss of a closer. However, Kiwoom laughed at the premature expectations of baseball fans by showing its potential to enter the Korean Series for the third time since its foundation last year.

The strategy that Hong Won-ki, director of Kiwoom, where there was no fixed finish, was ‘group finish’. Kiwoom minimized his finishing gap by injecting left and right-handers, orthodox and technical, veteran and newcomer into the bullpen for a season in each game. Commonly, the collective finishing system is often used temporarily when the fixed finishing system breaks away, but few clubs have succeeded by putting forward a fixed finishing system throughout the season like Kiwoom.

One of the secrets to the success of Kiwoom’s fixed-finish strategy was the emergence of an outstanding left-handed bullpen pitcher named Kim Jae-woong. Kim Jae-woong, who joined the Heroes in 2017, debuted in the 1st team in 2020 and started to play an active role in 2021. Kim Jae-woong, who pitched in 65 games last year, recorded 3 wins, 2 losses, 13 saves, 27 holds, and an average ERA of 2.01, going back and forth with the setup man, and quickly emerged as the league’s top left-handed reliever pitcher. 

In addition, Moon Seong-hyun, who escaped from a long injury swamp and returned to the mound, recorded 13 saves and 9 holds in 45 games; He recorded holds and kept the bullpen. However, Kiwoom, which failed to win the Korean Series last year, wanted to build a stronger bullpen and recruited veteran reliever Lim Chang-min with a career record of 96 saves in November last year.

His first save in Heroes in 16 years of debut

Lim Chang-min was nominated by the Hyundai Unicorns with the 11th overall pick in the 2nd round of the 2008 rookie draft, and started his professional career with Woori Heroes, which was founded mainly by Hyundai players. However, Lim Chang-min only pitched in 5 games in the 1st team for 5 years after joining the professional team, and in November 2012, he transferred to the new team NC with infielder Cha Hwa-joon in exchange for right-hander Kim Tae-hyung. And the NC transfer became an important ‘turning point’ in Lim Chang-min’s baseball life.

Immediately after moving to NC, Lim Chang-min, who played an active role as a first-team pitcher, appeared in 95 games for two years and played an active part in the NC bullpen’s yardstick, before turning into a closer in 2015. And Lim Chang-min recorded 86 saves for three years until 2017, becoming the pitcher with the most saves in the league during this period. However, Lim Chang-min, who pitched in 281 games for five years from 2013 to 2017, left the team in 2018 after undergoing elbow ligament surgery.토토사이트

After rehabilitation, Lim Chang-min returned to the mound in 2019, but Won Jong-hyun (Kiwoom) already occupied his finish. Lim Chang-min played steadily in the bullpen until 2021, but was eventually removed from the reserve list after the 2021 season. Lim Chang-min moved to Doosan last year and recorded 2 saves and 6 holds in 32 games, but was released from Doosan after a year. Everyone predicted a high possibility of Lim Chang-min’s retirement, but Lim Chang-min is continuing his active life this year at his Kiwoom, where he first started his professional life.

Even at the beginning of the season, Lim Chang-min, who usually pitched in games where the score difference was wide, was far from the winning team to record the first hold of the season against KT Wiz on April 27th. However, as Sung-Hyun Moon left due to an elbow injury and Tae-Hoon Kim was traded, Chang-Min Lim’s role in the Heroes’ bullpen gradually increased. Lim Chang-min, who won his first win of the season against NC, who was in his prime on the 12th, recorded the first save of his life in a Heroes uniform against KIA on the 21st.

When Lim Chang-min, who underwent elbow surgery in 2019, returned from rehabilitation, few baseball fans expected him to return as a closer. In fact, Lim Chang-min did not record a single save for three years after returning from injury. However, Lim Chang-min wore the uniform of the Heroes, where he first started his professional life, and harvested his first save after 16 years of his professional debut. It was the discovery of the possibility of a revival of ‘finishing Lim Chang-min’, which everyone said was difficult.

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