It is difficult to objectify the present values of the two players clearly now. This is because the utilization of the two pitchers was too different between 2022 and 2023.
The two players are known as left-handed specialists. In 2022, Jin had the most hits against left-handed hitters among LG bullpen pitchers. He faced left-handed hitters 129 times. He also had good hit rate against left-handed hitters at 0.214. Choi had against left-handed hitters 92 times in 2022. He had the most hits against left-handed hitters after Lee Jung-yong (119 hitters), Lee Woo-chan (95 hitters), and Kim Jin-sung (93 hitters). His hit rate against left-handed hitters stood out at 0.156.
However, the two left-handed specialists almost disappeared from the first division stage in the 2023 season. All records in the first division are that Jin has faced off against left-handed hitters 39 times, while Choi has faced left-handed hitters 10 times.
The reason why LG’s bench did not appoint them last season was because it was judged that the odds were high to use several right-handed pitchers against left-handed hitters. Although it was a small sample, Jin Hae-soo’s hit rate against left-handed hitters slightly deteriorated to 0.257 and Choi Sung-hoon shook to 0.444.
Among LG’s bullpen pitchers in the 2023 season, right-handers Yoo Young-chan and Kim Jin-sung were used as killers of left-handed hitters. Yoo Young-chan faced left-handed hitters 159 times, while Kim Jin-sung faced left-handed hitters 135 times, serving as a de facto “left-handed pitcher.” This is because both players have effective pitching arithmetic and pitching trajectories against left-handed hitters, with Yoo Young-chan recording a batting average of 0.213 against left-handed hitters and Kim Jin-sung recording 0.205.
LG has other left-handed pitchers such as Ham Deok-ju and Lee Woo-chan who are negotiating to remain as free agents. However, sending the two left-handed specialists can be seen as an attempt to continue the 2023 season.
From the perspective of the two teams that are facing the two players, there seems to be less expectation on the contrary. Both Jin and Choi still showed competitive edge in the second tier this year. In this year’s second tier, Jin had one win, one save and a 1.61 ERA and a 0.232 hit rate in 27 appearances, while Choi finished the season with a 2-1 loss and a 1.82 ERA in 30 appearances in the second tier.
“We checked players’ health and other aspects while preparing for the draft. We expect them to play a good role in our bullpen next season,” said an official from Samsung who recruited Choi Sung-hoon.
Next year will be the first season in which all major left-handers, who have been like the “spinners” of LG’s bullpen in recent years, have moved to the team. Kim Dae-yu, one of LG’s left-hander cards until 2022, moved to KIA as a compensator for Park Dong-won, an FA recruited by LG a year ago, and the trio, which was once an iron wall, also moved to the existing two left-hander bullpen agents.