SEOUL, South Korea (Purdue Sports) — As a 20-game winner and the ace of the league champion Doosan Bears, Purdue baseball alumnus Josh Lindblom has become the first player to win the Korea Baseball Organization's top pitching honor, the Choi Dong-won Award, in consecutive years.
The Choi Dong-won Award is recognized as the equivalent of Major League Baseball's Cy Young Award. The Choi Dong-won Memorial Association is the sponsor of the award and selects the winner. It was established in 2014 and foreign pitchers were eligible to win it for the first time last year.
Lindblom (2007-08) was 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP while recording 189 strikeouts vs. 29 walks in 194 2/3 innings pitched. He led the league in wins, strikeouts, strikeout-to-walk ratio, innings and WHIP. The right-hander also ranked among the top three in ERA (2nd) and quality starts (22, T-3rd).
The KBO recognizes a league MVP and also sponsors a Golden Glove Awards program, which serves as an all-pro honor instead of strictly defensive excellence like MLB. Lindblom was also the Golden Glove award winner at pitcher last year and is thought to be an MVP candidate this year.
A two-time all-star since joining the Doosan Bears in the winter of 2018, Lindblom has compiled a 2.67 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 363 1/3 innings in his two Choi Dong-won Award seasons. He's 35-7 in 56 starts, giving Doosan a quality start in 43 of his 56 outings (77%). While recording 346 strikeouts vs. only 307 hits allowed, he also posted an impressive 5.16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His hits per nine innings mark of 7.60 is also quite good for a starting pitcher.
Lindblom won 11 consecutive starts from June 14 through Aug. 25. He worked at least six innings in all 11 of those outings and had a streak of 13 consecutive quality starts that extended through Sept. 11. He also had a streak of 13 straight quality starts last season.
Doosan has won a combined 181 games the last two seasons, qualifying for the Korean Series both years. Lindblom worked five innings of one-run ball in the opener of the 2019 Korean Series and Doosan went on to sweep the Kiwoom Heroes in four games. Even with the KBO's ladder-based playoff format, Lindblom was able to perform well despite a 23-day layoff between his final regular-season start Sept. 28 and the Korean Series opener Oct. 22. The Bears played in their fifth straight Korean Series, but were victorious in the championship round for the first time since 2016.
Lindblom has pitched in the KBO since 2015. He spent the first half of the 2017 season in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, pitching for both the Pirates and Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. The Harrison High School product and his family continue to reside in the Greater Lafayette area.