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(LEAD) Sidearm pitcher voted top rookie in S. Korean baseball

Sports 14:45 November 25, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS photo, comments, details)
By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- Jung Woo-young, a 20-year-old right-hander with a sidearm delivery, has been named the best freshman in South Korean baseball for 2019.

Jung, the lanky reliever for the LG Twins, collected the Rookie of the Year award in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) in a ceremony held in Seoul on Monday. He earned 380 out of 550 possible points in a media vote.

Jung Woo-young of the LG Twins speaks after receiving the trophy as the 2019 Rookie of the Year in the Korea Baseball Organization during an awards ceremony in Seoul on Nov. 25, 2019. (Yonhap)

Players earned points for a top-three vote. A first-place vote was five points, and a second-place vote was good for three points. A third-place vote was worth one point.

Jung is the first Twin to nab the top rookie prize since outfielder Lee Byung-kyu in 1997.

Jung went 4-6 with a save and 16 holds in 56 appearances, while posting a 3.72 ERA in 65 1/3 innings, with 38 strikeouts.

In an underwhelming rookie class compared to recent seasons, Jung beat out Kia Tigers outfielder Lee Chang-jin (171 points) and Tigers pitcher Jeon Sang-hyun (154 points).

In this file photo from Oct. 10, 2019, Jung Woo-young of the LG Twins pitches against the Kiwoom Heroes in the top of the eighth inning of Game 4 of the Korea Baseball Organization first-round playoff series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

After accepting his trophy, Jung admitted he'd lost sleep the previous night and said, "I was just hoping I would win this award, and I am honored that my hope became reality."

Jung, drafted out of high school, hit the ground running from the onset of the season and began his KBO career with 11 1/3 shutout innings across his first seven relief appearances.

He carried a 1.83 ERA through May and established himself as the front-runner for the top rookie prize. Jung then hit a speed bump in July, as he went down with a right shoulder injury. He ended up missing a little over a month of action.

"At that point, I stopped thinking about trying to win the rookie award," Jung said. "I wanted to relax and finish the season the best way I could."

In this file photo from May 2, 2019, Jung Woo-young of the LG Twins celebrates his team's 5-4 victory over the KT Wiz in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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