‘Quality Start master’ Ko Young-pyo (32-KT Wiz) finally broke through in the Quality Start record books. He became the first man to reach 20 quality starts in three consecutive years, a feat not accomplished by legends Jung Min-tae and Daniel Rios.
Ko made his 20th quality start of the season in the 15th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against Samsung at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 19, giving up one run on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
With 21 quality starts in two consecutive seasons starting in 2021, Ko became the first pitcher in the KBO to reach 20 quality starts in three consecutive years since the league began keeping track of quality starts.
Many legendary pitchers, including Jung Min-tae, Daniel Rios, Yang Hyun-jong, Merrill Kelly, Hector Noesi, Dustin Nippert, Josh Lindblom, Tyler Wilson, Casey Kelly, David Buchanan, and Raul Alcantara, have attempted to reach 20 quality starts in two consecutive years.
“I didn’t realize that 20 quality starts in three consecutive years was a first. I learned about it from the news,” he said, “I’m personally proud to have achieved my goal of 20, and I think I’ve been a consistent starter for a season. It feels good,” he said of reaching the milestone.
The only thing more gratifying than 20 quality starts for the third consecutive year was the title of “first. Beyond seniors like Ki Rah-sung and foreign pitchers, it’s a new history in the KBO League’s Quality Start category.
“Being the first means you’ve done something amazing,” said Ko Young-pyo. In the past, there was no concept of quality starts, but baseball has changed a lot, so it’s important for a starter to go six innings. I’m giving myself a lot of credit for doing 20 consistently for three years.”
He cited aggressive pitching as the biggest factor in reaching the milestone. “You have to be efficient with your pitches per inning so that you can pitch until the sixth inning. I also need to keep them within three runs, so even if I give up a run, I can increase my chances by pitching aggressively with fewer pitches. I’ve always had that mentality on the mound, and I think that’s why I’ve been able to go six or seven innings so often.”
However, some have expressed skepticism about his record of quality starts. The skepticism stems from the question, “Is a pitcher who can throw six innings and three earned runs truly outstanding? This is because a six-inning, three-earned run performance translates to a 4.50 ERA. We don’t usually look at a pitcher with a 4.50 ERA and consider them a good pitcher.
“Of course, I’m not a good pitcher from that point of view,” said Ko, “but I have to keep pitching six innings. Five scoreless innings is not a quality start. If a starting pitcher goes six innings, he has done his job and increased his chances of winning. Also, it’s not three runs every time, there are two runs and no runs,” he countered.
“If you look at the games KT has won this year, they have a clean game with six or seven innings from the starting pitcher, followed by Son Dong-hyun, Park Young-hyun, and Kim Jae-yoon. Not only me, but also Benjamin, Cuevas, and Choi Jeong-seong pitch like that.” “I’ve been a starter since 2017, and my goal since then has been six innings and three earned runs or less, and my goal now is to always pitch six innings and three earned runs or less,” he continued. 온라인바카라
Meanwhile, KT coach Lee Kang-cheol, a former legend himself, applauded the ace for reaching the milestone. Lee said, “In the era of ride-to-zero, he’s done a great job with his long innings. He has now become a so-called reliable starter who can be expected to pitch at least six innings and three runs. Congratulations to him on his record.”
He also set a new goal for Ko during the interview. “Now try to win 20 games for the third year in a row,” Lee laughed, to which Young-pyo replied, “I’ll do it.” He was determined.