“In the US, everyone is obsessed with sweepers. In Korea, I don’t know…”
Kiwoom Heroes’ An Woo-jin, who won last year’s Golden Glove pitcher. This year, with an average ERA of 0.47 in 3 games, it is an object of fear for batters.
Ahn Woo-jin showed interest in the new pitch ‘Sweeper’, which was recently introduced at the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic) by Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) and became famous. In the last minute of the WBC final, Ohtani strikes out Mike Trout (Angels) on a miss, and the ball is the sweeper. Ahn Woo-jin added, “I’ve practiced, but it doesn’t work well.”
Baseball Savant, the official statistics site for Major League Baseball, also added ‘sweeper’ to the pitch category from this season.
The person who introduced ‘Sweeper’ to Ahn Woo-jin was teammate Eric Yoki. He is a long-lived foreigner who has been playing in the KBO league for 5 years this year.
‘Sweeper’ is similar to a slider in that it is a fast-paced, horizontally curved type of breaking ball. However, Yokishi, whom I met at Gocheok Dome on the 16th, even grabbed and showed the grip of the sweeper and explained, “It is a completely different pitch from the horizontal slider.”
“General sliders have a small sideways curvature and drop a little. Sweepers vary from person to person, but basically they run away. Looking at pitching data, a clear difference is revealed. Above all, the curve or slider is the middle finger, and the sweeper is the index finger. “
Yokishi explained, “I hold the grip like a two-seam, and when I throw it, I throw it like I throw a curveball.” According to him, some players feed topspin like a curveball, and some players use it like a cutter. It is important that the ball flies with a large sideways curve ‘more than a slider’.
Yokishi threw the sweeper twice last year, just five pitches. Haven’t thrown since. He said, “At the time, fouls and ground balls came out,” but “I’m not fast enough, so it’s difficult to use. It wasn’t ripe,” he added. 스포츠토토
There is another reason not to throw a sweeper. Yokishi emphasized, “I don’t have any desire to throw because it feels like it’s a little too much for my elbow. The sweeper is a good pitch, but the slider still has value.”
There is also a league difference between the US and Korea. American baseball has gone through both the so-called ‘restriction revolution’ and ‘launch angle revolution’. Pitchers focus on faster balls and hitters focus on the upper swing. Yokishi said, “American batters try to hit hard from the front. On the other hand, there are many players in Korea who hold short and hit with a feeling of cut, so I don’t think it will be as effective as the United States.”