“Free agent salaries will rise significantly”.
I don’t think I’m drinking kimchi already. LG Twins’ Im Chan-kyu is doing a great job as a starting pitcher. He lost out in the competition for the starting job. He stepped in as a temporary starter when all the Korean starters were struggling, and he quickly became the third starter. Aside from the foreign duo, he is a local ace. 메이저놀이터
On April 28, Lim pitched his best game of the season against the KIA Tigers at the Gwangju-Kia Champions Field. It was a demonstration of why Lim has changed: He used his body to his advantage, and he had the power of a hawk hunting its prey. He relaxed and went seven innings with four hits, two walks, and no runs.
There are three main things that have changed about Lim. The first is the diversity of his pitches. He throws a fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball in four pitches. Although the percentage of changeups varies depending on the game, he throws more sliders and curves than usual. On this day, I threw 34 fastballs, 22 curves, 21 changeups, and 10 sliders. The curve is useful for taking away timing.
Another is aggressiveness. “It’s a lot different than when I won 10 games (in 2018 and 2020). Now, I play fastball in fast counts. My style was to take the count long. It was a difficult style with a lot of stonewalling. Now, I’m more aggressive with my pitches, and there are a lot of pitches that I can hit,” he laughed.
These aggressive pitches led to more body battles. You can often see him making bold pitches to the body. If the pitch doesn’t work, it will lead to a long hit, but it gives him an advantage in the course battle with the batter. In addition to his fastball, he also has a more complete changeup that he uses to confuse hitters’ predictions.
“I didn’t throw my fastball to the body. It was more of an outside pitch. I thought it was bad and went back. Now I keep it in and go outside. Today, I boldly threw it toward the body to Kim Sun-bin and Hwang Dae-in. That’s different. So if I drop a changeup with the same trajectory toward the body, there is a high probability of being fooled,” he explained.
Coach Yeom Kyung-yeom advised. At first, he was nervous. But the overwhelming statistics gave him more confidence. His ERA is 1.97. His starting ERA is even lower at 1.23. It’s a phenomenal turnaround for a pitcher who hasn’t even had a sub-3 ERA since his debut. In seven starts, he has five wins, a 2.22 K/9, and a 1.16 WHIP. In the 12 years between his debut in 2011 and last year, he averaged a 1.51 WHIP and 2.07 ERA.
Now, he’s even more relaxed on the mound, with his trademark optimism. After his performance as a solid third starter, Yeom Kyung-yup said, “We would have been in trouble without him. Kelly was bad, and the three domestic starters (Kim Yun-sik, Lee Min-ho, and Kang Hyo-jong) were also sluggish. Because Chanyeol filled in well, we were able to achieve the result we have now (1st place),” he praised.
After the 28th game, Yeom laughed, saying, “Chanyu’s free agent price must have gone up a lot.” He was eligible for free agency last year but gave it up. This year, he is a repeat student. There is a condition that he must maintain his current performance until the end of the season, but he can also win the most games ever. If so, Lim’s free agency price will be different. A big free agent contract with an LG championship. Just thinking about it makes my heart race.