“Im Chang-min silently fulfills his role as the eldest brother”
Kiwoom Heroes’ Im Chang-min took the mound in the top of the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead in the 13th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League between his team and the Lotte Giants at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, on April 19, and pitched one inning of scoreless baseball with 14 pitches and one strikeout to earn his 20th save of the season.안전놀이터
Lim was selected by the Hyundai Unicorns (now the Kiwoom Heroes) with the 11th overall pick in the second round of the 2008 Korean Baseball Organization draft. After failing to make an impact with the Heroes, he switched to the NC Dinos after the 2012 season.
In 2015, Lim began his “back door” career with a 1-5 record and a 3.80 ERA in 61 games, followed by a career-high season the following year with a 1-3 record, six shutouts, and a 2.57 ERA in 65 games, and a 29-save season in 2017, his best year yet.
Kim Chang-min of the Kiwoom Heroes./My Daily
However, Lim began to struggle in 2018, appearing in just eight games, and despite showing signs of rebounding in 2020, he was released by the NC after the 2021 season. He was later linked to the Doosan Bears, where he continued his career, but after failing to make an impact, he was informed that he would not be re-signed and was given a ‘Chinjung’ Kiwoom jersey prior to this season.
Since returning to Chinjung, Lim has been a completely different player. He started his rebound in April with a 1.23 ERA in one hold, and in mid-May, he took over the back end of the rotation and is on pace for the best season of his career. In particular, he was 1-2 with a 1.19 ERA in 41 appearances before the 19th, when he reached the 20-save plateau for the first time in six years after 2017.
Against Lotte on the 18th, Lim had a tough time shutting the back door as he gave up two walks in the top of the ninth inning with a narrow 5-4 lead. However, the game on the 19th was different. Taking the mound in the top of the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead, Lim ended his clean start by getting leadoff hitter Jeon Jun-woo to pop out to second base on two pitches. He then induced a grounder to Ahn Chi-hong at first base for the second out, and then threw a 144-kilometer fastball to the next batter, Park Seung-wook, for a strikeout to close the door.
Kiwoom Heroes’ Lim Chang-min./My Daily
After reaching the 20-save milestone for the first time in six years, Lim said after the game, “I want to give myself a pat on the back for making it to 20 saves. The team is in a difficult situation, but I’ve been able to maintain my good performance so far because they believed in me whenever I was shaky.” Coach Hong Won-ki gave a thumbs up, saying, “Congratulations to Lim Chang-min for his 20-save record, as he is doing his part as the eldest brother.”
Lim, who started out as a reliever at the beginning of the season, didn’t expect to reach 20 saves as he has been the closer since May. “I didn’t think about 20 saves. “The team is in a difficult situation, so I’m very nervous. My focus on being a senior who is not ashamed of the younger players has led to good results,” he smiled.
“I don’t know because I don’t remember the past, but I was younger then and I did things on my own, but now I have a lot of support around me. “There are juniors who have experience, and there are juniors who are playing their first season with (Kim) Dong-heon, and the chemistry between the players is good. I think we are gaining synergy in this area.”
He continued, “Because I’m older, I don’t know when it’s going to be my last time, so I think I take care of them a little bit more. I think I’m reciprocating a little bit, so I’m grateful for that.” “First of all, it’s very comfortable. I know a lot of people, and it’s a team that makes you feel comfortable playing. I often think, ‘What would it have been like to be on this team when I was younger,'” he smiled.
While Lim is on pace for a career-high season, Kiwoom’s current form is less than stellar. As a “veteran,” Lim has some advice for the younger players. “It’s very disappointing. Baseball is a game of dominoes, so I think it’s hard for everyone psychologically, but I’m telling the younger players, ‘Endure this time, improve yourself, and don’t experience this again.
Lim will be eligible for free agency at the end of this season. Born in 1985, he’s not exactly young, but with his current form, he could be in line for a good contract after being released. Lim’s experience can certainly be a boon to younger players. Six years after reaching the 20-save plateau, let’s see what kind of contract he can land this winter.
Kim Chang-min of the Kiwoom Heroes./My Daily