Starting → Pil Seung-jo → Starting… Kim Young-kyu, who has become an “all-round key,” said, “I want to win the title as a mainstay.”

NC Dinos left-hander Kim Young-kyu will take on a new challenge, leaving behind 2023 when he was full. He is preparing to return to the starting pitcher. “I will repay you as much as (Kang In-kwon) believed me. I want to be a mainstay and contribute to the victory,” he said.

Last year, Kim Young-kyu had two wins, four losses and a 3.06 ERA at 24 holds in 61 ⅔s in 63 games. It was his best performance since his debut in 2019 after joining NC in 2018. He was tied for third in league hold and the first in left-hander. He also set the record for most holds in a single season as NC`s pitcher.

Throughout the postseason, the team continued to strengthen its performance from wild card games to playoff games. Throughout the first playoff game, the team had no run in five games and five ⅔ innings. NC failed to advance to the Korean Series.

During the season, Kim was selected as a substitute for his team’s senior Koo Chang-mo in the Hangzhou Asian Games. He came back with the gold medal around his neck. After finishing fall baseball, he joined the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) national team and tied for the runner-up.

“I had a lot of experience and I was really happy. It was a great year that made me feel truly happy,” Kim said. “However, the team ended the season unfortunately. People around me say that I did well, but personally, I felt very disappointed. I just want to prepare harder this year and play baseball for a long time until the end of the season.”

“Even if I get good results in a season, I always think about how I can grow further. Everyone has big goals. I also try to develop further,” he said. “There are many experienced pitchers in the team, so I ask them if they have any difficulties. I think I talk to (Lee) Yong-chan, (Im) Jung-ho, and (Lee) Jae-hak often. They are kind to me, so I approach them more comfortably. I lean on them.”

Ahead of the 2024 season, he was listed as a native starter. Kim Young-kyu exchanged starts and saves from 2019 to 2021. He settled in the middle of pitching in 2022. He is preparing to start again this year. I have a good memory. On Sept. 27, his last pitching in 2019, he started as a starter for the first time in a long time and pitched nine shutout innings, allowing seven hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. He became the first NC Dinosaurs to shut out games without any outs. He was also the first shutout by a player born in 2000 in the KBO League.

“I will do my best if the coach allows me to select him. I want to repay him as much as you believed me. I’m already preparing for the season,” Kim said. “I like that it seems to be a stimulus and a driving force ahead of the season. However, I will do my best in any position depending on the team’s situation. I will do my best, whether it is a starter or in the middle.”

Eric Peddy, the starting ace who won the MVP award in the KBO League last year, left for the Chicago White Sox in the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB). Analysts anticipated that the NC starting lineup would weaken. “Since Peddy is a pitcher who has won 20 games (6 losses, ERA 2.00 and 209 strikeouts), such a story could naturally be said,” Kim Young-kyu said. “But there are so many good pitchers in our team. I believe that if we all prepare well, we will have good results.”

After a short break, he started exercising again on April 7. “I am doing both technical and weight training in Changwon (where the team is based). The opening of this year (March 23) has accelerated, so I am building my body early,” Kim said. “From now on, I believe it is a new beginning, and I will make efforts to further develop myself.”

Born in 2000, Kim Young-kyu, who was born in the year of the dragon, celebrated the year of the blue dragon. “My wish for the new year is to keep me healthy and do well for a year. I should not reveal my wish,” he said with a smile.

“Last season, the fans sent me a lot of, undeserved support as well. I’m always grateful,” he said. “I want to prepare well to make sure the fans have a happy year this year. I hope to see you with a smile at the ballpark in March.”

“When I won my first championship in 2020, I didn’t know anything about it. I just felt that I won because my older brothers gave me the chance to win,” Kim said. “Now I want to contribute to the championship by being the main player. That’s my dream. All the players have big goals.”

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