SSG catcher Cho Hyeong-woo, who is growing in faith, “I want to become a player who improves every year”
After losing 4-15 against Sajik Lotte on the 17th, SSG excluded main catcher Kim Min-sik from the first team entry. SSG director Kim Won-hyung said at the time, “(Kim) Min-sik also needs a process to cool his head.” He judged that recovering Kim Min-sik’s physical condition was more important than the game in front of him. Behind this decision was the young catcher Cho Hyung-woo (21), who gave ‘faith’ to manager Kim this season.
Hyung-Woo Cho is a promising catcher in his third year as a professional who was selected by SK (now SSG) in the 2nd round (8th place) of the 2021 KBO League Rookie Draft. He debuted in the first team last year and only played in nine games, but this season he is accumulating experience in the first team as Kim Min-sik’s backup catcher. Cho Hyung-woo solidified his position as the team’s second catcher as veteran catcher Lee Jae-won spent more time in the second team due to sluggish batting.
Director Kim picks Cho Hyung-woo’s ‘strong shoulder’ as his greatest strength. He paid special attention to his throwing ability, which allowed him to thwart opponent stealing attempts with a high probability. In fact, he is recording a stealing rate (0.296) of close to 30% in 48 games he has played this season. It is evaluated that his defense and ball mixing ability, such as blocking and framing, has also improved a notch over the course of this season.안전놀이터
SSG Cho Hyeong-woo celebrates after hitting a hit. Provided by SSG
Fellow pitchers are also sending trust to him as he develops his abilities one by one as a first-team catcher. Lefty ace Kirk McCarty says he feels most comfortable on the mound paired with Cho Hyung-woo. It is said that veteran left-hander Kim Gwang-hyun also readily accepted the situation in which he had to work with Cho Hyeong-woo in the absence of Kim Min-sik.
Coach Kim also praised him, saying, “The fact that a young player continues to wear a mask as the starting pitcher in the absence of Min-shik means that there is a sense of security.”
Cho Hyeong-woo, whom I recently met at SSG Landers Field in Incheon, was trying to erase the word ‘anxiety’. He said, “When others saw me, I thought, ‘I think I might be anxious,’ so even I couldn’t trust myself and felt insecure.” said.
His goal is to become a ‘all-rounder’ catcher who demonstrates his abilities in various fields such as defense and offense. However, he has not been able to produce satisfactory results in hitting this season. His batting average this season is 0.172.
Cho Hyeong-woo said, “I myself was very disappointed with the record, so I felt more chased and rushed.” Regarding Cho Hyeong-woo’s batting, coach Kim encouraged him, saying, “As he goes out to play, he will show off his batting talent.”
Cho Hyeong-woo expressed his determination to use the opportunity given to him as a stepping stone for growth. He said, “I want to go out to as many games as possible without injury and gain experience, and become a player who improves every year.”