The Youth National Team, led by Lee Young-bok, has arrived in Taichung, Taiwan. Starting tomorrow, they will face off against some of the world’s top teams over the next 10 days.
South Korea has won the World Youth Baseball Championship five times, ranking third on the all-time list behind Cuba (11) and the United States 카지노 (7). At the Asian Baseball Confederation Championship, they won in 2015 and finished fourth in 2019. This is their sixth attempt to win the title.
The last time they won the title was in 2008 in Edmonton, Canada, with MVP Sung Young-hoon and a squad that included Heo Kyung-min, Jung Soo-bin, Kim Sang-soo, Ahn Chi-hong, Oh Ji-hwan, Park Geon-woo, and Kim Jae-yoon, all of whom are currently playing in their respective national professional baseball programs.
The pitching staff is strong… Hwang Jun-seo, Kim Taek-yeon, Jeon Mir, Park Gun-woo, and Yuk Sun-yeop are the key.
Hwang Jun-seo will be the starter for the first game of the Youth National Team. He will be the ace of the tournament. (Photo by Jeon Sang-il)
This year’s high school lineup as a whole is strong on pitchers and weak on hitters. This trend will inevitably affect the youth national team. At this point, Korea’s nine pitchers are more than adequate. Hwang Jun-seo and Kim Taek-yeon are the starting and closing aces. Jeon Mir, Park Gun-woo, and Yuk Sun-yeop are the swingmen in the middle.
Under Park Ki-ho is mainly considered for the middle of the order against Western teams. Bae Chan-seung is expected to play the one-point role against left-handers, while Cho Dae-hyun and Shin Sang-hyun will play short innings against right-handers.
Hwang Jun-seo has a good curveball and splitter that drops laterally. He doesn’t have a lot of ups and downs from game to game, which makes him a good ace. After much deliberation, Lee Young-bok decided to start ace Hwang Jun-seo against Puerto Rico in Game 1.
The most important player is Kim Taek-yeon. He will likely pitch back-to-back games against Puerto Rico and Taiwan (Photo = Jeon Sang-il)
The most important game is against Taiwan. In this tournament, they will advance to the Super Round with their qualifying results. They can’t afford to lose a single game. I will use both Kim Taek-yeon and Jeon Mir in these two games.
Lee Young-bok’s calculation is to go all out in the first two games. “Our best strength is our pitching,” Lee said. If we give up a lot of runs early on, it’s hard for us to catch up because we don’t have much firepower. We need to put pressure on the opponent with our pitching from the beginning.”
Lack of hitting power… organization and mobility make up for it
Park Ji-hwan (right) and Yeo Dong-gun (left), the starting shortstop and second baseman, respectively (Photo by Jeon Sang-il)
The starting lineup for the game against Puerto Rico is out, although there will be some changes.
Lee Yul-ye is the catcher, Jung Ahn-seok is the first baseman, Yeo Dong-gun is the second baseman, Cho Hyun-min is the third baseman, and Park Ji-hwan is the shortstop. Park Ji-hwan is considered to be more reliable defensively than Yeo Dong-gun. The decision was also made based on the fact that Dong-gun’s defense is more reliable than Jung’s second base. Cho Hyun-min also played third base for Chungam-go. He has good hitting ability and has been in good form lately.
Lee Sang-joon, a center fielder for the youth national team. He will take turns wearing the catcher’s mask with Lee Yul-ye. (Photo by Jeon Sang-il)
The designated hitter and center fielder will be Lee Sang-jun. Lee has a clear advantage in hitting over Lee Yul-ye. Also, his shoulders are stronger than Lee’s. His strength is in stealing bases. However, in terms of blocking and pitcher reads, Lee has the edge. Sang-jun Lee will most likely alternate with Lee at catcher and bat center field.
However, in important games, Lee will likely wear the mask first to strengthen his defense.
Jeon Mir is not expected to bat in this tournament. He will be used as a pinch-hitter when the lineup is exhausted, but the manager said he doesn’t plan to use him much as a hitter. (Photo by Jeon Sang-il)
Jeon Mir is not expected to bat for the national team this time. He could be used as a pinch-hitter once the batsmen are exhausted, but before that, he will focus on pitching.
This is because he was limited by the relatively fastballs of the pitchers. Lee Young-bok said before the game that he would focus more on pitching for now. However, as a pitcher, he has shown his potential as a must-win pitcher by performing well in the Korea-Japan Jangshin War and the Choi Kang Baseball.
The starting center fielder for the youth national team is Lee Chung-heon. He is quick on his feet and has good defense as a center fielder (Photo by Jeon Sang-il)
The outfield consists of Park Si-hyun in left field, Lee Chung-heon in center field, and Lee Seung-min in right field. Lee Chung-heon, in particular, is the first choice for the starting center fielder in the tournament because of his quick feet and defense in the middle infield. He will be the link between the bottom and top of the order.
Lee Seung-min is the first choice in right field, as he has good shoulder strength and is a great batting resource. He will likely play center field. Park Si-hyun is a left fielder with good physicality and a good bat, but he has some weaknesses in his shoulders, which makes him less of a defensive liability.
“Organizational strengths. Focuses on getting on base early. Defensive baseball with pitching power.”
“We will definitely come back to win the championship” (Photo by Jeon Sang-il)
2023 Youth National Team coaches Su-cheol Seok (left) and In-cheol Kim (right) (Photo by Sang-il Jeon)
“The World Championship is a seven-inning game, so if you give up a lot of runs early on, you can’t catch up.
And although this youth national team has the advantage of organization and quick feet, it is not a team with great firepower. Therefore, Lee Young-bok said that in this game, they would try to score runs one by one through bunts and stolen bases rather than scoring a lot of runs early on. He hopes to make the most of his team’s strengths.
“The best thing about this team is its organization” (Photo by Jeon Sang-il)
“The toughest matches will be the first and second games,” said Lee Young-bok. If we mess up the first game, things will go wrong from the second game. We have to do well in the first game. And the second game is against the home team, Taiwan. I expect the odds to be heavily in our favor, so I’ve asked the pitchers to stay as calm as possible.”
The Korean Youth National Team will play every day of the tournament, starting on September 1 against Puerto Rico and continuing through Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Australia, and Mexico.