Ahn ‘Dr. K’ Woo-jin seeks KBO history
League’s first-ever back-to-back 200K challenge
151K to date… leading the division
224K catches, better pace than in 2022
Faster slider and steadier delivery
Favorites to set the record for strikeouts in AG
Most Mirandas in the league, likely to exceed 225K
Opening day of the 2023 season on April 1. Kiwoom Ahn Woo-jin (24) struck out 12 batters in six innings against Hanwha in his first game of the season. It was a sign of things to come for Ahn, who pitched a league-high 196 innings last season, striking out 224 batters while posting the lowest ERA in the league at 2.11.
Even after that, Ahn was scary. As if she wasn’t already at the peak of her powers, she threw sharp pitches. Ahn has been unstoppable this season and is on pace to set a new record for most strikeouts in a season.
Ahn’s most potent weapon is his fastball, which can reach speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour. Ahn’s fastball averages 153.4 kilometers per hour, per Statistiz. His fastball average is the same as last season, but his slider is faster, averaging 142.4 kilometers per hour, than last season (142.2). Add to that the stabilization of his changeup, and he’s evolving into a complete pitcher. In 2018, his rookie year, Ahn allowed 6.10 walks per nine innings. This weakness has been slowly worked on, and this season, he has lowered it to 1.98. That’s 0.55 fewer than the 2.53 he allowed last season, when he was the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
His improved slider velocity and improved command of his secondary pitches have helped his ability to strike out batters. Ahn struck out 49 batters in six games in April, including double-digit strikeouts in the opening game against Hanwha and the second game of the season against NC on April 7. She also struck out 33 batters in four games in July. This is the sixth time this season that Ahn has recorded double-digit strikeouts. He already leads the league with 151 strikeouts. That’s a whopping 28 strikeouts behind second-place Eric Pedroia (NC-123). His average per nine innings is 10.70. That’s 10.28 more than last season, when he became the 15th pitcher in baseball history to surpass 200 strikeouts and win a title.
Last year, Ahn set a new record for the most strikeouts by a Korean pitcher, surpassing the previous mark of 223 set by the late Choi Dong-won (Lotte) in 1984. If Ahn reaches the 200-strikeout plateau again this season, he will make history. Only three pitchers in the history of the Korean Baseball Organization have struck out 200 batters more than once: Sun Dong-yeol (1986-1988-1991), Choi Dong-won (1984-1986), and Ryu Hyun-jin (2006-2012). However, none of them have ever reached the 200-strikeout plateau in two consecutive years.
Simple math suggests that Ahn’s back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons are quite possible. With 127.0 innings pitched, Ahn is expected to start 10 more games this season. In that case, she’ll throw 61.2 more innings, which means she’ll have 73 more strikeouts. That would bring his strikeout total to 224, the same as last year.메이저놀이터
It’s not out of the question that Ahn could surpass the league record of 225 strikeouts set by Doosan’s Ariel Miranda in the 2021 season. That’s because the league runs during the Asian Games. While Ahn was left off the roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September due to his past controversies, most of the teams he will face will be sending their main players to the tournament. That means he’ll face a couple opponents with less power in their batting order, giving him a leg up on the all-time strikeout record.