Samsung Lions right-handed pitcher Kim Tae-hoon (31) is shaking.
Kim Tae-hoon moved to Samsung through a trade this year. After graduating from Bukyung High School, he joined the Heroes with the 79th overall ranking in the 9th round in 2012, and has been playing as a bullpen pitcher all along. In his last two seasons, he went 7-4 with 25 holds and 20 saves in 109 games with a 3.19 ERA. This year has been a bit sluggish, but Samsung, which lacks a bullpen, embraced veteran infielder Lee Won-seok and Kim Tae-hoon in exchange for a third-round 스포츠토토pick in the 2024 draft.
In the first few games, it seemed to be a trade-off. On April 27, against Doosan Daegu, he took the mound in the ninth inning with a 7-6 lead, and kept a one-point lead with nine balls. In subsequent matches, the uptrend continued. He became the winning pitcher on the 28th against kt with 1 hit and no run in 1⅓ innings, and also on the 30th against kt with 1 inning, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout and no run.
▲ Taehoon Kim ⓒSamsung Lions
However, Kim Tae-hoon’s momentum was quickly broken. In the match against Kiwoom on May 2nd, 3 hits, 2 homers, 1 walk and 4 runs in 1 inning were not found. In the 10th inning when the score was tied 0-0, Kim Tae-Hoon collapsed after being hit by a three-run by Edison Russell. After the main weapon, the forkball, was attacked, the face dried up. It is sluggish with an average ERA of 27.00 in 3⅓ innings in 5 games in May.
Manager Park Jin-man said, “The reason was that Russell hit a home run in the game with Kiwoom. I couldn’t take advantage of the forkball, which was my main tool. The advantage is the forkball that fell in the strike zone, but recently it fell in front of the base. I think my confidence has declined.” and diagnosed the cause of the failure.
Still, Kim Tae-hoon is a player that should be used continuously. He plans to be considerate so that he can find his pace by putting him in a more comfortable situation. Coach Park said, “I’m trying to raise Kim Tae-hoon in a comfortable situation. He will make sure that his condition improves. He is a player who needs to play the role of Pilseungjo someday.
The best scenario is for Kim Tae-hoon to play an active role as Pil Seung-jo. This is even more so when considering the Samsung bullpen situation. Attention is focusing on whether Kim Tae-hoon will be able to emerge as a bullpen nucleus again.