The path to MLB for ‘LG players’ paved by Go Woo-seok, a dream that depends on Jung Woo-young

On the afternoon of the 8th, in the second game of the professional baseball ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason‘ Korean Series between LG Twins and KT Wiz held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, LG’s third pitcher Woo-young Jeong is pitching in the top of the third inning.

The LG Twins produced a player who advanced to the Major League (MLB) for the first time since its founding when Go Woo-seok joined the San Diego Padres earlier this month. This is the first success story since Lee Sang-hoon became the first in Korea to enter the major league through a posting system (private competitive bidding) after the end of the 1997 season.

After the 2025 season ends, another major leaguer from LG may emerge, and ‘bulpen nucleus’ Jung Woo-young is also dreaming big.

Jung Woo-young, who wore the LG uniform in 2019, can advance overseas through posting if he plays for two more seasons. Although advancing to the major leagues is still a long way off, Jung Woo-young is determined to prepare one step at a time. After completing the 2024 season, we plan to formally request a posting from the club.

Jung Woo-young, one of the top bullpen pitchers in the KBO League, has outstanding skills. In his first season of debut, he recorded 56 games, 4 wins, 6 losses, 1 save, 16 holds, and an ERA of 3.72, and was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award from LG 22 years after Lee Byung-gyu in 1997. He recorded 20 holds in 2020, 27 holds in 2021, and became the title holder in 2022 with 35 holds. On April 8 last year, in a game against the Samsung Lions, he became the youngest player (23 years, 7 months, 20 days) to record 100 holds.

As a sidearm pitcher, Jung Woo-young’s strength is throwing a two-seam fastball at a range of 150 km. Manager Yeom Kyeong-yeop said, “(Jung) Wooyoung is a type of pitcher that is not common even in the major leagues. Considering his basic qualities, he seems more likely to succeed in the major leagues than Go Woo-seok.”

In order for Jung Woo-young to advance to the major league through posting, he must receive permission from the LG club. Additionally, the way Jung Woo-young is treated by the major league club could also be an obstacle.

Still, thanks to the path paved by Go Woo-seok, the threshold for LG players to enter the major leagues has been greatly lowered. Jung Woo-young could benefit as the next runner.

Go Woo-seok, who applied for posting after receiving conditional approval from the LG club, was offered a contract period of 2+1 years with San Diego and a total of up to $9.4 million. The guaranteed contract size is $4.5 million over two years, which is not enough for LG, which expected more than $10 million.

However, Go Woo-seok strongly requested to advance to the major leagues, and LG’s acting owner Koo Bon-neung decided to let him go regardless of his will. The size of Go Woo-seok’s contract is bound to become a reference point for the next LG player to enter the major leagues.

In addition, LG is preparing for Jung Woo-young to enter the major league. With the departure of Go Woo-seok, a new closing pitcher was needed, and the reason why Yoo Young-chan was selected as the closer instead of Jung Woo-young was to develop a pitcher who would be responsible for the back door for a long period of time, not just one or two years.

An environment has been created to advance to the major leagues, but Jung Woo-young holds the key. He had his worst year in the 2023 season, with 5 wins, 6 losses, and 11 holds in 60 games and an ERA of 4.70. He even changed his pitching stance and added new pitches to compensate for his slow slide step, but it actually had the opposite effect.

Jung Woo-young needs a revival if he is to achieve his dream of advancing to the major leagues. Coach Yeom also predicted that Jung Woo-young will only be able to sign a major league contract if he succeeds in rebounding in the 2024 season.

Jung Woo-young is also aware of this and is preparing for the new season with utmost care. After winning the Korean Series last year, he went straight to the operating table and underwent surgery to remove bone fragments from his elbow. His rehabilitation period is 3 to 4 months, and if there are no major problems, he is expected to be able to throw the ball in the regular season opening game on March 23.

Jung Woo-young, who is in rehabilitation, is busier than anyone else. On the 20th, he left for the United States, LG’s spring camp site, along with five pitchers including Son Ju-young, Kim Yun-sik, Lee Sang-young, Lee Ji-gang, and Kang Hyo-jong, and is sweating hard, pledging to make a comeback. 19가이드03

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