MOON DONG-JU BECOMES THE FIRST HANWHA ROOKIE TO WIN THE TITLE 17 YEARS AFTER RYU HYUN-JIN

The 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Awards, which recognize the best performers and rookies in the Korean Baseball Organization this year, will be held on Nov. 27.This year’s ceremony will focus on the Rookie of the Year rather than the MVP winner.This is because the MVP award is certain to go to foreign pitcher Eric Pedi of the NC Dinos, who had a dominant performance.The Rookie of the Year award, on the other hand, is a two-horse race. Hanwha Eagles fireballer Moon Dong-ju and KIA Tigers key starter Yoon Young-chul are the frontrunners, both of whom have had similar performances this year.Moon has appeared in 23 games and pitched 118⅔ innings, posting an 8-8 record with a 3.72 ERA.

While he didn’t complete the required number of innings (144), he was a steady presence in the starting rotation.He was second on the team in wins and second in innings pitched.If Moon wins the Rookie of the Year award, it will be the first time in 17 years that Hanwha has had a Rookie of the Year winner since Ryu Hyun-jin in 2006.Only three other times in the history of the KBO has a Hanwha player (including Bingre) won the Rookie of the Year award, from Lee Jung-hoon in 1987 to Kim Tae-gyun in 2001, followed by Ryu Hyun-jin.Yoon Young-jeong was not far behind Moon Dong-ju. In 25 games, he pitched 122⅔ innings, going 8-7 with a 4.04 ERA.Yoon also finished tied for third on the team in wins and third in innings pitched.It hasn’t been long since KIA last had a Rookie of the Year winner. In 2021, Lee Yi-ri took home the honor.

At the time, Lee was the first KIA (including Hae-Tae) player to win the Rookie of the Year award in 36 years, since Lee Sun-cheol in 1985.In terms of objective performance, Moon has the edge in ERA.He also outperformed Yoon Young-chul (1.40, 0.263) in terms of runs allowed per inning (1.31) and batting average (0.249).However, Moon is a secondary rookie who debuted last year, while Yoon is a pure rookie who made his debut this year.This background may have influenced the journalists’ votes.The Rookie of the Year voting, which was conducted by journalists from the Korea Baseball Writers Association and local media outlets, was held after the 토토 regular season ended and the results will be announced at the awards ceremony on Nov. 27.

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