Cho Sung-hoon started the 2023 KBO League regular season game against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Tuesday and pitched four innings of five-hit ball with one walk and two strikeouts. His fastball was up to 148 km/h.
Cho was a highly touted prospect who was selected by the SK Wyverns with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 Secondary First Round. He made one appearance in his rookie year, giving up two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning, before joining the Commerce. Expectations were high 메이저사이트 after his military service. In 2020, he went 13-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 45 and two-thirds innings pitched in 13 games, with a fastball that topped out at 154 mph.
Expectations were high for a fastball starter, but it never materialized. He struggled with his velocity in spring training, suffered shoulder inflammation, and took longer to return to action. Then this year, he went 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in the Futures (second-tier) league, and was picked up by manager Kim Won-hyung as a fallback when Jong-hoon faltered.
It wasn’t a cool start. After a leadoff single and a walk in the first inning, Cho was faced with a bases-loaded situation in the second. He walked the leadoff batter, Yang Ji, and a batter later gave up a single to Heo Kyung-min and a walk to Kim Dae-hyun to load the bases. He induced a foul fly to the next batter, Kim Jae-ho, and struck out the next batter, Lee Yoo-chan, on four pitches to get out of the jam.
The shaky pitching continued. After giving up a walk in the third, he gave up two hits in the fourth. It was a crisis, but again, no runs were scored. The defense helped. Two batters later, with Lee Yoo-chan batting, Doosan attempted a double steal by Kim Jae-ho and Hong Seong-ho, but the infield caught Hong Seong-ho diving for home to get out of trouble again.
He continued his scoreless streak and threw an economical 62 pitches. However, he fell short of his first win. It could have gone longer, but SSG opted to go straight to the bullpen, and Cho Sung-hoon’s first win in the first team will have to wait until another time.