“I used to only go to weddings at the end of the season. This year, I keep winning awards, so I’m very happy and proud.”
SSG Landers pitcher Seo Jin-yong has had an equally hectic offseason schedule as he did during the regular season. This year, he established himself as one of the best pitchers of 2023 by posting career-highs with a 5-4 record, 42 saves and a 2.59 ERA in 69 games and 73 innings pitched, as well as winning his first professional title as a save king.
It was the first 40 saves of his career, surpassing teammate Ha Jae-hoon’s 36 saves in 2019 and breaking the SSG franchise record for most saves in a single season. He has been one of the best relievers in the league this year, leading the league in reliever WAR (3.63) according to Statistica.
While SSG was unable to repeat last year’s feat of becoming the first team in KBO history to win the wire-to-wire title, finishing third in the regular season and out of the semifinals in the postseason, Seo’s performance was a major boost.
“When I first took over as the closer, I thought 30 saves was a lot, but I didn’t expect to go over 40,” said Seo. “After the season, I looked at my record and realized that 42 saves is a really big number. It was a season that surprised me a lot,” he reflected.
Seo graduated from Gyeongnam High School in 2011 and joined the SK Wyverns (SSG’s predecessor) with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the rookie draft. At the time, Seo’s first-round selection was a surprise for SK, but it turned out to be a godsend. 토토사이트
Seo had a successful first full season in 2017, going 2-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 42 games and 46 innings pitched with three saves and three holds. This was a decent enough performance for a bullpen pitcher, considering that the KBO as a whole was extremely hit-and-run at the time.
Seo broke out of his prospect shell perfectly in the 2019 season. In 72 games and 68 innings, he went 3-1 with four saves and a 2.38 ERA in 33 appearances, making him one of the best set-up men in the league.