The driving force behind Japan’s victory over the “luxurious corps” of the United States at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), which resumed after six years, was the mound.
Japan played Shota Imanaga (Yokohama DeNA Baystars) – Shousei Dogo (Yomiuri Giants) – Hiroto Takahashi (Chunichi Dragons) – Hiromi Ito (Nippon Ham Fighters) in the final match held in Miami, Florida, USA on the 22nd (Korean time). -Taisei Ota (Yomiuri), Yu Darubishu (San Diego Padres), and Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) threw in succession, blocking the American line with nine sporadic hits and two runs.
Although Japanese pitchers each hit solo homers from Trey Turner and Kyle Schwaber (Philadelphia Phillies), they dominated the American batters at every critical juncture.
What caught my eye most of all was the average speed of Japanese pitchers.
All seven pitchers had a fastball speed of over 150 km.
Except for Darubish, all of them were in their 20s, throwing faster balls than the American pitchers they faced, showing a clear advantage on the mound.
On the other hand, the loss of the U.S. is also pitching ability.
In the United States, superstar hitters such as Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers), Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels), Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Ernardo (above St. Louis Cardinals) mobilized, but failed to gather the best players on the mound.
If the U.S. put a large number of team aces,메이저놀이터 such as Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer (above New York Mets), and Shane Bieber (Cleveland Guardians), into the final, it would not have been easy for Japan to win.
That’s the sport of baseball.
Even if you collect 9 home run hitters, it is a game where you cannot beat a pitcher like Seon Dong-yeol.
The problem is Korean baseball.
In the 1st and 2nd WBC, Korean baseball, which had a fierce battle with Japan and won the semifinals and runner-up, was humiliated by being eliminated in the first round three times in a row.
The biggest strength of Korean baseball in the past was a stable mound and sticky defensive baseball.
Korea ranked first among the participating countries with a team ERA of 2.00 in the 1st WBC, and ranked 4th in the 2nd tournament with a team ERA of 3.00.
However, in this WBC, Korea recorded an average ERA of 7.55, and was pushed to 16th place out of 20 countries.
It’s a shameful number.
Korea has met Japan 9 times in the past WBC and recorded 4 wins and 5 losses.
The four games Korea won were all thanks to the pitching staff blocking the Japanese batting line within two runs.
However, it was difficult to compare Korean pitchers who competed in this tournament with Japanese pitchers.
Only Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants), who pitched as the last pitcher in the game against Japan to avoid the humiliation of a cold game loss and started the game against the Czech Republic immediately, did his part, but the rest were disappointing.
In the past, when domestic leaders evaluated Japanese pitchers, the most common thing they said was excellent control.
He said it was more important to throw the ball accurately than to be fast.
However, the performance of Japanese pitchers in this tournament was the result of the ‘speed revolution’.
Most Japanese pitchers threw fastballs that easily exceeded 150km.
Even in the US Major League, when Aroldis Chapman (Kansas City Royals), a Cuban exile pitcher, made his debut in 2010, there were only a handful of pitchers who could throw 100 miles per hour (about 161 km).
Over the past 10 years, while the US and Japan are causing a ‘speed revolution’ on the mound, only Korean baseball, a ‘frog in the well’, has been stagnant.
It is pointed out that the KBO League, where the average speed of the league is still in the early 140 km/h range, is only clinging to acquiring small skills, such as teaching a breaking ball grip when a new high school graduate pitcher joins.
Teaching small skills may be good for immediate use, but there are bound to be limits to pitchers’ growth.
Building strength before teaching skills is the basic theory of all sports.
It is never too late to acquire skills after you have developed enough strength and strengthened your shoulders.
It is hoped that the KBO will also take an interest in establishing policies that can systematically nurture young pitchers by actively collaborating with the Korea Baseball Softball Association rather than focusing only on ‘showing off’ administration such as attracting international events.