Jang Hyun-seok (Yongmago) may have opted for the big leagues, but the rookie draft is still hotly anticipated. Like Kim Seo-hyun (Hanwha), who replaced Shim Jun-seok (Pittsburgh Pirates) in the big leagues, there are plenty of “big fish” rookies who could change the fortunes of their respective teams.메이저놀이터
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) will hold the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul. This year, there are a total of 1083 players, including 782 high school graduates, 296 college graduates (including 41 early draft picks), and five other players from overseas amateur and professional organizations.
Jang Hyun-seok, who was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, will not participate in the draft. Jang signed a $900,000 contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers after declaring for the major leagues last month.
As a result, the No. 1 overall pick will likely go to one of Hwang Jun-seo (Jangchung-go) or Kim Taek-yeon (Incheon-go). They were two of the most dominant pitchers in high school baseball this year.
Of the two, Hwang Jun-seo is the favorite for the No. 1 pick. That’s because the No. 1 pick belongs to Hanwha, who finished last last year.
Hanwha selected Moon Dong-ju (first overall) and Park Joon-young (second overall) in the 2022 rookie draft and Kim Seo-hyun with the first overall pick in last year’s rookie draft, which switched to a full draft. All three were considered “young guns” for the next decade, and all three were right-handers.
Add to that Hwang Jun-seo, a lefty with a fastball in the low 140s, and you have the ideal left-right balance.
However, even with a right-hander like Kim Taek-yeon, it is possible that Hanwha could change its mind at the last minute, as he is rated as an “instant power” bullpen pitcher.
Doosan, which holds the No. 2 overall pick, is more comfortable. They only have to choose between Hwang Jun-seo and Kim Taek-yeon.
Doosan has reportedly been keeping a close eye on Kim, with the possibility of selecting Hwang Jun-seo from Hanwha. Doosan head coach Lee Seung-yeop also spoke favorably of Kim’s stability.
Kim was the “national ace” at the recently concluded U18 World Championships. Although he came under fire for throwing 247 pitches in eight days in five consecutive games, he proved his mettle by pitching Korea to a bronze medal.
In the bronze medal game against the United States, the last of the five consecutive games, he threw seven innings of 98 pitches with nine strikeouts.
After Hanwha and Doosan’s selections, Jeon Mir (Gyeongbuk High School), Yuk Sun-yup (Jangchung High School), and Kim Hwi-gun (Whimun High School) are likely to be the top picks. All three have been aces for their respective teams.
Of the three, Jeon is the most highly regarded because of his ability to bat and hit. This raises the possibility of Lotte selecting him at No. 3.
Meanwhile, Kiwoom, which has been at the bottom of the standings this season, is also worth noting. Kiwoom has a total of six picks up to the third round in the upcoming rookie draft.
In addition to the ninth, 19th, and 29th picks, Kiwoom, last year’s Korean Series runner-up, acquired the eighth (LG), 16th (KIA), and 24th (Samsung) picks via trade.
LG got Choi Won-tae, Samsung got Kim Tae-hoon in an in-season trade, and KIA got Joo Hyo-sang during the off-season.
With Lee Jung-hoo deciding to go overseas after this season, and Ahn Woo-jin likely out until next year after undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery, Kiwoom’s rookie draft is an opportunity to add a number of players who will be the cornerstones of the team going forward.