Too good to be true.
Hanwha Eagles manager Son Hyuk and former manager Carlos Suvero agreed to limit second-year player Moon Dong-ju’s innings to around 120-130 innings before the season began. They had to time the end of the season so that Moon would be in the starting rotation consistently for the first time without injury, unlike last year. It was early September.
In fact, Choi Won-ho wanted to wait for a medical opinion before making a decision, but he accepted the decision that was made before his arrival. Hanwha even decided to finish the regular season around 120 innings when Moon Dong-ju was named to the Hangzhou Asian Games team. This was because he was expected to pitch around 10 innings in the Asian Games.
A practice game between the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team and the Sangsung Corporation is held at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, on the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2023. Moon Dong-ju of the national team pitches a no-hitter in the third inning./My Daily
This is the background of the “self-season-out” in early September. In reality, Moon pitched five innings each in the preliminary and final games against Chinese Taipei at the Asian Games. In the regular season, he pitched 23 games and 118⅔ innings. A total of 25 games and 128.1 innings. The math seemed to add up.굿모닝토토
It wasn’t. Moon will also wear the Korean flag at the second Asian Professional Baseball Championship, which will be held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan from November 16-19. He is expected to start one game there as well. That would bring his season total to over 130 innings.
The problem is that he’s already surpassed 140 innings. Moon has pitched seven innings in two exhibition games and five innings in two Futures League games this year. That’s 130⅔ innings for Hanwha alone, and 140⅔ if you add in the 10 innings he pitched in Hangzhou.
This would put him at close to 150 innings if he played in the APBC. In that case, Han’s 130-inning limit before the season becomes irrelevant. In fact, even more than the innings, the schedule through mid-November can be overwhelming for pitchers working full-time for the first time. It’s not like he’s been throwing the ball consistently since September, but it’s a lot harder than the mad dash from China to Japan.
Regardless, this season has exceeded expectations. The Rookie of the Year race is far from over. He also won a gold medal at the Asian Games and finished his military service. After Ryu Hyun-jin (36, free agent), he is poised for a long run as the first homegrown starter to represent Hanwha.
A practice game between the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team and Sangmu was held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Sept. 26, 2023. Moon Dong-joo smiles after pitching three scoreless innings./My Daily
He shouldn’t get sick, but with such a hectic schedule, he needs to be prepared for the 2024 season. If I can maintain this level of performance next year, I should be considered a national team regular. Next year, it’s time to get some real innings and become a real ace for Hanwha. Next year, like this year, he may have to pitch longer than any other pitcher. After the season, the Premier12 awaits.