NC native ace Koo Chang-mo finally enjoyed the honor of being selected for the national team. Of course, he wore the APBC Seo Taegeuk mark in 2017. However, the competition was a competition in which only players aged 23 years or younger participated. This is the first time the WBC has selected an official adult national team.
Koo Chang-mo signed a 6+1 year 13.2 billion won extension contract with NC in the 2022-2023 offseason. Since his debut in 2016, there has been criticism that the contract is excessive for a pitcher who has not filled the regulation innings in a single season and who has had injury issues in the recent 2-3 years.
However, in the 2020 season and the 2022 season, the power that Koo Chang-mo showed when he was healthy was evaluated as the highest in the league. 2020 season 15 games 9 wins 1 hold average ERA 1.74, 2022 season 19 games 11 wins 5 losses average ERA 2.10. Again, he couldn’t play full-time due to his elbow issue, but it was true that he showed national level force in his pitch, command, quality of each pitch, and game management ability.
So, for Koo Chang-mo, the upcoming WBC is an opportunity and a stage to prove. There is definitely a burden to make 100% condition in March. However, the KBO gave the pitchers who were included in the final entry early on the official ball and gave them time to prepare for the tournament. Since there is a limit on the number of pitches, it is enough for Chang-mo Gu to show his skills by pitching in the given situation.
The core of the national team mound is still Kim Gwang-hyun (SSG) and Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA). International competition experience is a factor that is difficult to overlook. However, there are many starting agents such as Koo Chang-mo, Lee Eui-ri 토토 (KIA), Kim Yun-sik (LG), Ko Young-pyo, So-jun So (KT), Won Tae-in (Samsung), Park Se-woong (Lotte), and Kwak Bin (Doosan).
You should make the most of the experience of Kim Gwang-hyun or Yang Hyeon-jong, but there is no need to over-rely on them. There are many cards to present depending on condition, relativity, etc. Koo Chang-mo has a good deception and simple arm swing. If the condition is good on the day, it is absolutely not a card that can be easily beaten until the batting order turns. Lee Eui-ri, who is the same left-hander but has a fast ball, and Kim Yun-sik, who has the advantage of command and variety by pitch, are different players. In other words, for Gu Chang-mo, the WBC is an opportunity to prove that he is a national left-handed ace following Hyeon-jong Gwang.
In addition, for Gu Chang-mo, after going to the WBC, he will naturally be put to the test for durability issues. Looking back through history, some pitchers who competed in the WBC before the season had their energy level drop in the pennant race. Even the 26-year-old Koo Chang-mo, born in 1997, is likely to be selected as a wild card for the Asian Games in September.
If you show the ace mode from the pennant race to the WBC and the NC postseason to the Asian Games, you can remove the label of durability for the old hat. Apart from external evaluation, it is a very important season to take care of your body. For Koo Chang-mo, 2023 is a season of opportunity.