After suffering through a tough second-year jinx last year, Jeong Chul-won (25) of PomSaint PomSa Pil Seung-jo dreams of returning to glory in 2024. His goal for the 2024 season is to regain the glory he had at this time last year, when he won the rookie of the year and earned his first taegeuk mark.

Chung has been getting in shape at Doosan’s first spring training camp, Blacktown International Sports Park in Sydney, Australia. He has thrown three bullpen sessions in 11 days, starting with 30 pitches, then 35 and 40 pitches. Chung is Doosan’s likely closer this season.

“My body is in great shape,” he said at the camp. I’m going to pitch a lot of innings in 2022 and 2023, so I’m being well taken care of,” he said with a bright smile.

The 20th overall pick of Doosan in the second round of the 2018 rookie draft, Jeong has made the leap from active military service to the core of the Bears’ bullpen in 2022. Despite being new to the first team mound, his guts and solid stuff earned him a spot in the must-win group and a one-time Rookie of the Year honor, along with the KBO record for most holds in a debut season (23).

Chung landed his dream closer job in mid-August of last year after being selected to the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) team. After going 5-2 with a 3.76 ERA in 39 games, two saves, and 11 holds in the first half of the season, he beat out senior Hong Gun-hee for the title of Doosan’s closer. “My goal is to close for a long time in Doosan like LG’s Go Woo-seok and Samsung’s Oh Seung-hwan,” he said.

However, strong closer Jeong Chul-won hasn’t escaped the closing pains. He appeared in 12 games in September, going 1-0 with seven saves and a 1.42 ERA, but he was of no use to the team in October, when the battle for third through fifth place intensified. He struggled to retire the side in order in the ninth inning, perhaps due to a decline in stamina following his first year of hard work, prompting Lee to utilize a group closing system that included Kim Kang-ryul and Hong Gun-hee.

In his second season with the first team, Chung went 7-6 with 13 saves and 11 holds in 67 games and 72⅔ innings for a 3.96 ERA. He was an all-around bullpen presence, posting double-digit saves and double-digit holds, but he also led the team in blown saves (nine).

“I should have been a little more focused and pitched well as I was used in a lot of important moments. “But I wasn’t tired,” he said, “and the batters hit well. The batters hit well. And we don’t have to waste any more tears of sadness. We have to work harder this year,” he said, reviewing his eventful second season.

Chung Chul-won is competing with Hong Gun-hee for the closer’s job in Australia. Veteran Kim Kang-ryul, who is slowly building up in the second team camp, is also a potential closer. Chung said he wanted to be a closer until last year, and he finally realized that dream, but this year, he put aside his desire for the job. He wants to be a pitcher who contributes to the team first.

“I think I’ll do my best where I’m given. “Of course, I’ve been longing for the closer position while watching Oh Seung-hwan and Go Woo-seok, so I’d like to be the closer for Doosan as well, but that’s just a goal. I will do my best no matter where I pitch,” he said, expressing his changed mindset.

Chung also experienced some growing pains off the field last year. Along with Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG) and Lee Yong-chan (NC), he was involved in a drinking controversy in Tokyo, Japan, during the WBC, and was punished with 40 hours of community service and a 3 million 토토사이트 won ($2,000) fine by the KBO’s punishment committee. Chung was subsequently dropped from the national team for the Hangzhou Asian Games and the APBC (Asian Professional Baseball Championship).

“I think I didn’t make the Asian Games because I wasn’t good enough,” he said, “I also had a problem with my brother (Kim) Kwang-hyun, but I want to improve my skills and join my friends (Kwak) Bin-i, (Jung) Woo-young-i, and my brother (Noh) Si-hwan-i in the next national team. I really want to represent my country and show my good form again,” he said, dreaming of playing in the Premier 12 in November.

The team also set a goal to finish the season from the back door. “My record will follow if I finish the season well,” he said. If the team wins a lot and wins the championship, my record will follow. I want to throw well without getting sick and not focus on my individual performance,” he said, adding that he has a mature mindset.

Chung’s roommate in the Australian spring training camp is Kim Taek-yeon, a talented right-hander who was selected with the second pick of the first round in the 2024 Korean Baseball Entry Draft. Coincidentally, Kim is also being touted as Doosan’s next closer.

“I get along so well with (Kim) Taek-yeon. He’s very calm and serious. I don’t think there’s much he’s good at besides baseball,” he said, adding, “I think he’ll throw good pitches in the future. It’s too early to judge her now, but I think she’ll be able to do well in the pros in the future,” he said, predicting the junior’s success.