‘LG → Kiwoom trade’ 195cm rookie pitcher makes first start against LG

Rookie Kim Dong-kyu (19), who joined Kiwoom from LG in the Choi Won-tae trade, will make his first professional start against his hometown team LG.

“He’s a very tall player,” Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki said with a smile when asked about his starting pitcher on Wednesday before the game against LG at Jamsil Stadium. He was referring to Kim Dong-gyu’s 195-centimeter height. Kiwoom had a hole in its 13-day starting rotation when ace Ahn Woo-jin was removed from the first team roster on Sept. 9 to protect his health.

“I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on him, and I think I need to make some judgment on his potential as a starter, his performance on the mound, his delivery, and all of that,” Hong said. Kiwoom saw Kim as a promising prospect and took him as a future resource, but with Ahn Woo-jin’s conditioning, Kim quickly earned a spot in the first team.

After the trade, he will make his first professional start against his hometown team. Coach Hong said, “Our field and I can be a little brutal, and as a young player, there is a lot of pressure, but when that fearful feeling turns into confidence, the energy is huge. I hope that I can give advice from the sidelines to help her gain confidence, and that she can grow to the next level with confident pitches and grow as a starting pitcher.”

Kim Dong-kyu changed teams on July 29 in a trade between LG and Kiwoom. LG acquired Choi Won-tae from Kiwoom, sending Kim Dong-kyu, Lee Ju-hyung, and a first-round pick in the 2024 Rookie Draft to Kiwoom.

Kim, who joined LG in the second round (17th overall) of the 2023 Rookie Draft, was 3-5 with a 4.08 ERA in nine games (39⅔ innings) in the Futures League prior to the trade. He made just one appearance with the first team, allowing two runs (one earned) in ⅓ innings with three strikeouts.

After the trade, he made his first start in the Futures League on April 4 against SSG’s second team, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings. On March 9, he pitched ⅓ inning against Lotte’s second team, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks.

“He pitched on Wednesday in the Futures League, but we gave him a heads-up and had him pitch only a short inning. He said he was nervous that day and the results weren’t good,” Hong said.

Interestingly, in the Kiwoom-LG game on the 12th, Choi Won-tae took the mound against Kiwoom for the first time in an LG uniform. On the 13th, Kim Dong-gyu, who came to Kiwoom from LG in the Choi Won-tae trade, will make his first professional start against LG. 꽁머니

Lee has been in the starting lineup every game since the trade and hit his first career home run against LG’s Kelly. It will be interesting to see how Choi Won-tae and Kim Dong-gyu perform against their hometown teams.

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